Leisure Pro Boosts Average Order Value By 65% With Online Chat

Customer service plays a pivotal role in the browsing and buying journey, and has a distinct impact on whether a consumer buys from that retailer or moves on to a competitor. While many shoppers tap email, call centers and even social media to ask questions regarding products or services, they now are utilizing live chat more frequently. In fact, 67% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. have interacted with an eTailer using live chat, according to research from the e-tailing group. That percentage is expected to grow to 75% by the end of this year.

Leisure Pro, a diving equipment and accessories retailer, has seen a significant increase in web site engagement and average order value (AOV) since executing an online chat solution from Needle. Following the implementation in August 2012, the company saw a 25% improvement in conversion rates, according to Bill Parnes, GM and VP of Marketing for Leisure Pro. Moreover, consumers that leverage the online chat tool have an AOV that is 65% higher than those who do not.

Using the Needle platform, Leisure Pro successfully has developed a base of customer experts — called “Needlers” — to act as the retailer’s online customer service team. Needlers are located worldwide, Parnes reported, and are equipped with the brand and product information necessary to answer consumer questions quickly and efficiently. 
Furthermore, because the team of live chat agents is outsourced, Leisure Pro employees can focus more on vital, timely tasks. The live chat tool is beneficial because “we don’t have to use our internal resources to focus on e-Commerce customer service,” Parnes said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “However, we can still provide a pool of 20 agents that is available 24 hours a day worldwide to handle customers’ questions.”
The live chat feature is effective “because of how the customer feels after chatting with an expert,” Parnes added. “Needle has allowed us to replicate the feeling customers experience when they’re in a physical dive shop: For example, they can have the same kinds of conversations via online chat as they would in our stores, and report feeling very comfortable acting on the experts’ recommendations.”
To ensure outsourced representatives are well-prepared to address customer inquiries, Needle explored the Leisure Pro Facebook page and other social networks to find and recruit experienced scuba divers. Once Needler prospects were gathered, they were trained on Leisure Pro product offerings as well as company rules and regulations.

“Initially, one of the main reservations we had about an outsourced online chat team was whether the agents would be knowledgeable enough about our products, policies and mission,” Parnes said. “To assure they were aligned with company goals, we also had the chat experts follow the same training program as our in-house employees.”


Agents completed several certification processes and test periods before being accepted as an official Leisure Pro live chat expert. Ongoing, Needle tracks Needler performance and will contact internal product specialists if more information is required.

Featured Event

Join the retail community as we come together for three days of strategic sessions, meaningful off-site networking events and interactive learning experiences.



Access The Media Kit


Access Our Editorial Calendar

If you are downloading this on behalf of a client, please provide the company name and website information below: