Today, excellent customer support is key to customer satisfaction for any ecommerce business. While there are a number of ways to go about providing your customers with swift and helpful support, few are more beneficial than live chat support. Along with improving the customer experience, live chat software can also help reduce support tickets and your customer support team’s workload. It also serves as a revenue-generating channel for ecommerce businesses — one that not many are tapping into (yet).
To help you start taking advantage of all the benefits of a good live chat solution, we'll explore what to look for in a live chat app before covering the eight best live chat apps available today.
What features should you look for in a live chat app?
There are a lot of different apps that enable you to install a chat box or chat widget for your website visitors. There are even a number of free live chat apps available for download. However, not all live chat solutions are created equally. Before you go to the trouble and expense of installing a live chat app on your ecommerce website, make sure that it meets the following criteria:
Easy to set up and use for all your team members
One of the biggest benefits of live chat support is the fact it can make life easier for your support agents. If a live chat solution is overly complex and difficult to use, this defeats its purpose.
Check out an app's reviews to see what other users say about its ease of use, and be sure to choose an app that makes life easier for your team members — not harder. Websites like G2 and Capterra offer a ton of details about thousands of business apps, including real customer reviews.
When weighing your options, reviews will also give you insights about how much technical know-how is needed to set it up. Is coding required? Will you need help from your IT team to roll it out to all your agents, or can setup be handled within your customer service department? Make sure that whatever you choose is reasonable and realistic for your organization.
Integrates smoothly with other tools
The best live chat apps can integrate with the rest of your ecommerce tech stack, providing powerful new capabilities. For example, a live chat app that integrates with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and other social media messaging platforms allows you to offer live chat support to customers on social media. A live chat app that can integrate with Google Analytics, meanwhile, ensures that your support agents have easy access to the customer data that they need to offer exceptional support.
Related: 150+ of the best tools for ecommerce.
Has a transparent pricing model
Before you purchase live chat software, make sure that you fully understand its pricing model. In some cases, it may seem that a subscription to a live chat app is highly affordable — until you read the fine print and get hit with hidden fees.
Most of the apps on this list range in pricing from about $10 per month to $50 per month. However, every platform does things a little differently — some charge per user per month, some charge a flat rate, others may even charge per ticket. Determine what your organization deems “affordable” and keep this figure in mind as you compare tools.
Offers reliable, accessible customer support
Live chat apps are designed to enhance customer support, but it's important for the companies behind those apps to offer excellent customer support themselves. There are plenty of instances where your live chat app might not work like it should; whether it's difficulties installing the app, getting it to integrate with another tool, or any number of other issues. In these cases, you want reliable, fast support — so it's important to prioritize apps that offer it.
8 amazing live chat apps for customer support
Now that we've covered the top criteria to look for in a live chat app, let's take a look at some of the best live chat solutions available today. If you would like to start offering customer support via real-time chat conversations, you can't go wrong with the live chat tools below.
Given that 38% of customers report say they’re more likely to purchase a product if they offer live chat support, live chat can be an excellent way to drive sales and increase revenue (in addition to improving your customer support, of course). Gorgias is an all-in-one customer support platform that offers a fast-loading live chat widget in addition to a wide range of other customer support tools.
With Gorgias, support agents can conduct chat conversations with multiple customers at a time from a single, easy-to-use dashboard. Gorgias also empowers multi-channel live chat support by integrating with SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and a wide range of other messaging platforms.
- Centralized customer support dashboard
- Helpful metrics like first response time and resolution time
- Fast-loading live chat widget that won't slow down your website
- Seamless integrations with a variety of messaging platforms for multi-channel live chat support
- Automated workflows for creating canned responses to common customer questions
- Chat campaigns to help boost sales with live chat
- Works for Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce (with more ecommerce platforms on the way)
- Provides a broad range of customer support tools and features
- Exceptional customer support that is available 24/7
- Easy to install, set up, and use
- Can’t get a standalone live chat app
- Some reported issues with mobile app for iOS and Android users
- No way to pause your subscription when undergoing integrations or updating your website
2) HubSpot Live Chat
Since 2006, HubSpot has provided ecommerce stores with some of the best tools available — and HubSpot Live Chat is yet another excellent offering. With HubSpot Live Chat, you can easily install a chat button on your ecommerce store. When customers contact you, agents can reply via an integrated messaging service like Slack or Facebook Messenger.
HubSpot Live Chat also allows you to create automated templates and AI-powered chatbots for responding to common questions. Easily route customer inquiries to other support channels such as email or phone, create targeted, customizable welcome messages for different pages on your site, and automatically save your chat messages/chat history for future reference.
- Customizable live chat widgets
- Offers a no-code chatbot builder
- Live chat support agents can access data from HubSpot’s CRM to guide customer conversations and get the full context about the customer while chatting
- Free to download and use for unlimited chats
- Seamless integration with other HubSpot tools
- No coding required to customize live chat widget
- Limited number of features compared to other live chat solutions
- Only integrates with Slack and Facebook Messenger
- Chatbots are not as advanced as some competitors’; don’t use artificial intelligence or natural language processing
LiveChat is a live chat solution for both sales and customer support. It allows customers to contact a live representative via chat when they have a question or issue, and lets sales agents proactively contact website visitors during the buying process. Along with enabling live chat support via a chat box, SMS, email, Facebook Messenger, and more, LiveChat also enables you to create AI chatbots for sales and for responding to common customer inquiries.
- AI chatbots to greet customers and quickly route chats based on their response
- Automatic visitor segmentation based on the pages that they visit for targeted, personalized messaging
- Message sneak peek allows agents to see what a customer is typing for faster responses
- Offers 200+ integrations with other ecommerce tools and platforms
- Provides detailed reporting and analytics
- Features an intuitive and easy to navigate UI
- Pricing plans are somewhat on the costly side
- Reported glitches within the notification system
- Difficult to install and set up
4) Pure Chat
If you are looking for a straightforward and affordable live chat solution, Pure Chat is a great option. With Pure Chat, you can look forward to unlimited chats, a user-friendly dashboard, and a chat widget that is easy to customize. Pure Chat might not offer the range of features in more expensive live chat apps, but it does offer everything you need to start offering live chat support.
- Excellent chat widget customization options
- Unlimited chat history transcript storage
- Real-time analytics and visitor tracking
- Takes a matter of minutes to set up and is easy to use
- Affordable, flat-rate pricing
- iOS and Android mobile apps
- Only capable of supporting up to 10 live chat agents
- Limited features and integrations compared to more comprehensive live chat solutions
- Does not allow you to attach documents or images to a chat conversation
LiveHelpNow offers feature-rich live chat tools for both customer support and lead generation. With LiveHelpNow, you get features like SMS and text-to-chat, detailed reporting, customizable proactive chat triggers, conversion tracking, and much more.
- Automatically translates over 100 different languages
- Auto chat tagging to simplify organizing customer interactions
- View chat transcripts in real-time and send agents messages that are visible only to the agent
- Free training and implementation support
- Provides AI tools such as canned response recommendations to speed up response times and reduce agent error
- Offers a long list of useful integrations
- Chatbots only available as a paid add-on
- Somewhat prone to bugs and glitches
- UI is a little messy and confusing
Olark offers everything you could want out of a live chat app, including a highly customizable chat widget, automation rules for both sales and customer support workflows, a transcript archive, and detailed live chat analytics. In addition to an impressive list of features that come included with Olark's base plan, the app also offers additional "PowerUps" such as automatic language translation, visitor insights, and visitor co-browsing that allows agents to see a customer's screen.
- Custom chatbox forms for collecting information from customers before they connect with a live representative
- Real-time analytics for chat volume, customer satisfaction, and support agent activity
- Live chat automation rules for automatically greeting customers, sending messages based on customer behavior, routing customer queries to the right department, and more
- Chat transcripts are easy to search and navigate
- Offers 25 different integrations
- Easy to set up and use
- Additional costs to remove Olark branding from your chat box
- Does not provide AI chatbots
- Automation features are limited
If you are already using Slack to communicate with your team members, Chatlio is a great way to use Slack as a means for communicating with your customers as well. Once you install Chatlio on your website, visitors can connect with support agents via a live chat window and support agents can then manage and respond to these messages directly from their Slack dashboard. Chatlio doesn't offer the extensive list of features and tools provided by many apps on our list, but it is affordable and easy to use — especially if you and your team are already comfortable using Slack.
- Fully customizable chat widget
- Triggers for proactively engaging customers
- A user-friendly live chat support dashboard complete with helpful analytics
- Affordable flat-rate pricing
- Effortless to install and set up
- Offers lots of customization options
- No chatbots and limited automation features
- Heavily dependent on its integration with Slack
- Pricey given its limited features
Established in 2006, LiveAgent was one of the first live chat solutions for ecommerce to hit the market and is still renowned today as an app that is feature-rich and easy to use. With a LiveAgent subscription, you can look forward to proactive chat invitations with lots of customization options, chat analytics and customer tracking features, an unlimited number of customizable chat widgets, and an easy-to-navigate chat history database.
- Fast-loading, customizable, and reliable chat widgets
- Allows you to create canned responses for swift resolutions to common customer inquiries
- Website monitoring for tracking both customer and support agent activity
- Offers a free plan that includes one chat button and a limited yet useful list of features
- Great customer support that is available 24/7
- Easy to install and use
- Limited automation features
- Doesn't offer as many integrations as comparable apps
- Mobile app UI is a little clunky
Live chat seamlessly with Gorgias
According to a 2021 survey, 65% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today than they did three to five years ago. Beyond improving customer satisfaction, live chat widgets can also serve as a powerful sales tool. They enable you to proactively contact customers and guide them through the buying process, increasing revenue along the way.
At Gorgias, our live chat solutions are perfectly suited for both customer support and lead generation. We help your organization be proactive about support, leading to happier customers and more revenue — get started today.