Marketplace eCommerce

Best Product Details Chat for Marketplace eCommerce

September 26, 2022  |  5 min read

Many listings on your marketplace eCommerce site will start and end without the need for the buyer and seller to contact each other. The seller has created a listing that perfectly matches what the buyers are looking for, and the automated process after the purchase means that the item might ship to the buyer without a single personal exchange taking place.

But even if most of your marketplace listings take this easy path, it's common for a seller to instigate a conversation with a seller. While these could take place via emails, emails aren’t responded to nearly as quickly as your average chat. Having a robust chat system in place is an absolute must to ensure that your buyers get the information they need to encourage them to buy.

Make It Robust

When it comes to chats on an eCommerce platform, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The function needs to be as simple to use as the most common texting or instant messaging apps, but they should also offer advanced functions as necessary.

  • Typing Awareness Indicators – While few people know what they’re called, everyone is familiar with typing awareness indicators, those three blinking dots on the screen that show someone on the other end of the chat is currently typing. These are a great way to say, “Stick around, you’re about to get a reply,” which can make a purchase happen much sooner.
  • Character Limits – Whether or not to have a limit on the number of characters a person sends is up to you. In many cases, a limit is implemented so that the conversation is manageable to both the buyer and the seller. If additional information is necessary, it can be sent in a different chat or as an attachment.
  • Attachments – Much like with request for quote (RFQ) forms, a buyer might want to send a seller a document that details the exact needs of their order. Similarly, a seller might want to send a possible buyer the schematics or instruction manual for the item they’re interested in.
  • Notification – Sellers want to immediately know when someone has asked them a question so that they can address it quickly. Buyers want to get their answers as soon as possible so that they can move forward with the purchase. Be sure that your marketplace eCommerce chat has options users can choose so that they are alerted when a message needs attention.

Don’t Confuse the Issue

Sellers could have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of items up on your marketplace eCommerce website at any given time. The potential buyer might ask something nebulous like, “Can you get it here in two weeks?” How is the seller supposed to know what item the potential buyer is even talking about?

An excellent way to solve this problem is to have the chat system embed information about the item into the chat itself. This is often in a non-editable header that gives the basics of the item in question, such as title, price, minimum order quantity, or anything specific to your industry that will help sellers identify the specific item that the buyer is asking about.

Similarly, sellers might open up a chat to ask a question, only to find that the answer is in the short description that’s embedded along with the chat. This can help if they were rushing and didn’t take the time to read the listing; the header can prevent the need to chat at all.

Guide User Behavior

In a C2C marketplace, it’s always important to foster the best behavior possible. You want to establish every interaction as a professional one, and you can get buyers and sellers off to a good start with automated chat options. In short, you want both buyers and sellers to get the best outcome possible from every chat interaction.

While you can’t dictate exactly how the conversation will go, there are ways you can guide communication on a professional level. Your buyers and sellers don't have to interact like they’re in a Jane Austen novel, but getting the conversation off on the right foot can go a long way.

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Offer Respectful Greetings

Even the simplest autofill like “Dear <username>” can go a long way to starting the conversation off well.

Auto-Complete Phrases

Sometimes your AI will know what to say/how to say it better than your site’s users! Once it picks up on the subject, you can have it provide helpful recommended phrasing.

Buyer Question Checklist

A buyer may have a very specific question on their mind, but their focus on that single question might prevent them from asking even more relevant questions. The chat software can create a list of the most common questions that show up in a category, such as:

  • Can you fulfill the order on time?
  • What customs and duties should I expect?
  • How much will shipping be on different carriers?
  • Can you send me additional pictures of the item?
  • Will you ship to my country?

Make It Omnichannel

Not every interaction is going to take place between two people sitting at desktops. C2C eCommerce interactions will see people traveling, on the warehouse floor, in offices, or sitting in their vehicles.

Your entire marketplace will be mobile-friendly, but the interactive nature of the chat feature means special attention needs to be paid to it. This feature needs to be as seamless as possible no matter the device either the buyer or seller is using. A marketplace developer will help you create something that works well with desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and even work with voice commands. It can also be a vital part of your custom C2C app for your marketplace.

Chat Isn't Always Simple

Chats on every product details page are vital to the success of your eCommerce platform, which is why it’s so important to take the time to make it as robust as possible. We at Clarity have extensive experience in this area, and our website is filled with dozens of articles on every aspect of C2C eCommerce. We also have a YouTube marketplace playlist that highlights the most important aspects you should focus on, and how to make them as good as possible.

Clarity Ventures is here to help you succeed. Free of charge, we’d like to offer you a professional discovery process. We’ll help you create a plan for your marketplace live chat features; use the plan with us or take it to another developer. If you’d like some expert advice, get in touch with us today.

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Stephen Beer is a Content Writer at Clarity Ventures and has written about various tech industries for nearly a decade. He is determined to demystify HIPAA, integration, and eCommerce with easy-to-read, easy-to-understand articles to help businesses make the best decisions.