Which tools, such as user reviews and live chat, should I offer customers

With the advances in technology and the demand created by consumers there is more of a need for added tools such as user reviews, the ability to rate products, live chat support and more. Tools that are designed help your visitors and customers during the shopping process are becoming a neccessity for most merchants who run a successful eCommerce business. Knowing which tools to offer in your store depends on the the products you provide, the market you sell in and the types of consumers you target.

For instance, consumers who buy electronics such as iPods or Flatscreen TV’s usually like to see consumer reports about those items, the brands and how they compare to similar items offered by competitors. In addition to consumer reports, they may wish to see what other people who already bought the product think about it. By offering the ability for visitors to review items in your catalog you are creating a gold mine of user generated content that not only helps your eCommerce marketing efforts but will also help store users looking for consumer opinions about the items you provide. In addition to user reviews you may want to offer options for live chat or live customer support so users in your store can get quick answers to questions they may have during the shopping or check out process.

There are other tools out there, but these seem to be the most popular for eCommerce sites. Keep in mind if you offer ‘extra’ tools on your site, it’s OK as long as you make sure they are there to assist your users or potential customers. Other eCommerce site tools may include consumer polls, reviews, tax or shipping calculators, tutorials, help guides, live chat, how-to articles, support documentation, forums, blog section, feedback forms, FAQ page and much more. The tools you add depend on the specific needs of your users.