Conversation is essential to any retailer’s branding strategy. But in the ongoing shift from brick and mortar to online stores, the channels used for connecting with customers have changed. Promotional mailers have been replaced by email, helpful store clerks by live chat prompts, and customer support phone numbers by omni-channel online communication strategies. The shift to virtual customer engagement presents an exciting opportunity for sales optimization: every customer interaction generates data that can be analyzed to create valuable insights. And as the adage goes, what gets measured gets improved.

Discovering how to efficiently locate, convert, and retain top customers is critical for any growing company. Most leaders of online retailers know this, but rapidly changing consumer behavior and technological innovation make perfect execution difficult.

The answer is in delighting your customers by providing them with individual attention. This can be accomplished through live chat sales and customer service. However, a recent Oracle survey noted that only 40 percent of businesses that participated currently employ a live chat platform.

Here are five reasons why your company should use live chat.

Converting a website visitor into a loyal, high-margin customer requires conversational skills beyond simple grammar and semantics. To be successful, a live chat agent needs to read between the lines, assess the bigger picture of the sales opportunity at hand, hold multiple conversations at once, and respond to their conversation partner with timing, wit, and emotional intuition.

This is changing with the wider adoption of artificial intelligence. Chatbots are becoming the norm for streamlining operations and costs. However, depending entirely on chatbots as brand ambassadors can be risky.