Online store chat

Shopify Inbox includes online store chat. You can read and respond to your customers' messages using Shopify Inbox on your desktop computer or your mobile device, as well as sending product links, images, or discount codes.

Enable online store chat

Online store chat is included with Shopify Inbox, but is not enabled by default.

Steps:

  1. In your Shopify admin, click Inbox > Appearance.

  2. In the Online store chat visibility section, click Visible.

  3. Click Save.

To disable online store chat, follow the steps above and select Not visible. This removes the online chat button from your online store.

Customize online store chat

You can customize the button and chat window so that it matches the style of your online store theme.

Customize the online store chat button

Customers browsing your online store can click a chat button to start a chat with you in the browser window. You can change the button style and color to match your online store from the Appearance page in your Shopify admin.

Steps:

  1. In your Shopify admin, go to Inbox > Appearance.

  2. Select the Online store chat styling. Using the Position drop-down menu, choose a location for the chat button.

  3. In the Color field, enter a hexadecimal code or click the drop-down menu to use the color picker to select a color.

  4. Click Save.

Customizing the language for online store chat

Online store chat appears in the same language as your theme. If you are using an unsupported language, then online store chat defaults to English.

Customize greetings for online store chat

When a customer clicks the chat button on your store, a welcome message is displayed in the chat box header. If you have a follow-up or away message set up, then the message is displayed after the customer types in the chat window for the first time. You can customize the automated messages from the Inbox > Saved Responses page in your Shopify admin. Refer to Automated Messages for more information.

Viewing and responding to online store chat messages

Using the Shopify Inbox app, you can review and respond to messages from your customers. The Shopify Inbox app is available for iOS, iPadOS, or Android devices, or by logging in to Shopify Inbox on desktop at shopifyinbox.com.

Messages from customers using online store chat don't display a photo or a name for the customer, but Shopify Inbox associates each anonymous customer with a default avatar and a unique shop visitor name.

If the customer is actively on your store, then an "Online" indicator is displayed next to the customer's email address in the conversation list. On mobile, the "Online" indicator is also displayed next to the customer's avatar in a conversation.

When the customer leaves your store, the "Online" indicator disappears and is replaced with a message indicating that your reply will be sent to the email address that the customer entered in the pre-chat form at the start of the chat session.

Refer to Conversations for more information on viewing and responding to online store chat messages.

Pre-chat form

Customers are asked to enter their email address when they message you from your online store chat. This enables them to receive a response from you by email if they leave your store before you're able to reply. If the customer is on your online store, then your chat responses will be delivered in the chat window. If the customer has left your online store, then your chat responses will be delivered by email. The customer can respond to your email and the complete conversation history will be stored in your Conversations list.

If a customer enters an email address that doesn’t match an existing customer record, then a new customer record is created.

When you respond to a customer who messaged you from your online store chat, one of two things will happen:

  • If the customer is still on your storefront, then you can view and reply to the customer's message from Shopify Inbox or the mobile Inbox app, and the customer gets your response in online store chat.
  • If the customer has left your storefront, then Inbox sends your reply to the email address entered by the customer using an email template. It includes your store name, the new reply from you, and up to 10 previous messages in the conversation for context, and any orders the customer has placed on your store within the last 14 days.

Responses that are sent to the customer by email are also sent to the online store chat, so whether the customer chooses to reply by email or return to your storefront, they'll get the initial message and subsequent replies as one seamless conversation.

Regardless of how the messages are delivered to the customer, you can access the full conversation from Shopify Inbox or the mobile Inbox app.

Customer experience

When a customer clicks the chat button and fills out the pre-chat form, a conversation opens in their browser. The customer can continue to navigate to other pages in your online store, and the conversation stays open until they close it. If the customer navigates away from your store, then the conversation is saved for one week so that they can continue the conversation if they return to your website.

Before a customer sends their initial message, the customer is prompted to enter their name and email address. After the customer enters their contact information, a customer record is created or matched within your store, and the initial message is sent to you so that the conversation can continue.

Order lookup

Besides using online store chat to communicate with merchants, customers can track the status of their order. Customers can open online store chat, select Can I get an update on my order status?, and then enter the order number and the email address that is associated with their order. The customer receives a reply in the chat window that includes the fulfillment status of their order, a link to track the order if the order has shipped, or a link to the order status page for more details. If the customer enters the wrong email address or order number, then they receive an error message.

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