RST Software
Editorial Team
Ross Krawczyk
Reviewed by a tech expert

The power of a buyer-to-seller chat: implementing custom live chat into your marketplace

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The history of commerce is very long and complex, with some scholars placing the earliest instances of long-distance trade as far back as 150,000 years ago, when Homo sapiens emerged and started interacting with other species. Over the millennia, there have been a number of factors which contributed to the growth of commercial activity such as the introduction of currency, better transportation networks, banking systems, and markets. The latter of those in particular socialized trade by becoming staples of town life. Today, traditional markets obviously still exist, but the very idea also successfully went digital. Let’s talk about how online marketplaces can keep some of their original spirit and thrive by implementing a powerful buyer-to-seller chat feature.

The range of goods for sale has expanded drastically since the days a boar’s skin was exchanged for a bucket of berries, yet the main commercial principles of satisfying the needs and wants of customers by providing goods and services at the right place, time, and price remain the same.

The exact terms of transaction must’ve been, from the beginning, and still frequently are, subject to negotiations. Originally, the two, or perhaps multiple parties had to come face to face to discuss any potential concessions, with stakes most likely going as high as one’s life. Nowadays, all sorts of online marketplaces crop up, from luxury goods, to collectibles, to art and craft pieces, and anything in between, facilitating efficient and safe transactions.

A platform like this is a neat invention in and of itself, but there’s a way to make it even better with the addition of a marketplace buyer seller live chat. Let me explain why that is.

What’s a buyer-to-seller chat?

Buyer to seller chat is a direct messaging feature incorporated into a marketplace website that enables parties to a potential transaction to communicate with each other in real-time. It acts as a convenient and efficient platform for users to exchange information, negotiate deals, seek clarifications, and address any queries or concerns related to products or services being offered.

This chat feature works within the marketplace's ecosystem, allowing buyers to initiate conversations with sellers directly from product pages or seller profiles. It provides a convenient and secure channel for communication, ensuring privacy and maintaining the confidentiality of information that's being exchanged.

Why is buyer-seller messaging so important?

By incorporating a buyer to seller messaging functionality, marketplace websites can significantly enhance the overall user experience by facilitating direct and immediate interaction between buyers and sellers. The biggest advantage of real-time communication via an integrated custom live chat is that it eliminates the need for any external channels like email or phone calls, keeping the entire buying and selling process within the marketplace. Plus, people spending more time on-site is always good for your business (and SEO).

There are plenty of stats out there showing the significance of live chat in online commerce. For example:

  • 44% of online consumers deem live chat to be an important feature of a website. Why? Perhaps because it allows 51% of them to multitask (view different auctions).
  • The users of live chat spend 60% more per purchase.
  • 53% of cart abandonment cases are caused by not being able to get quick answers to product-related questions, something live chat can easily remedy.
  • 79% of businesses that use live chat report that they’ve seen their revenue and customer loyalty rise, and 43% of them have gotten a better understanding of who they’re selling to.

Yes, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, sales support can be done the wrong way, which leads to buyer frustration, but however you want to spin this, at the end of the day, live chat is simply a channel that works and improves various aspects of online shopping in the long run.

Also, of particular note in the context of marketplace websites, is the fact you’ll often find used items on sale there. Their exact condition may be unclear and difficult to gauge based solely on the description and any available photos, so a buyer-seller chat comes in handy for anyone looking for a quick clarification.

Benefits of a custom live chat for marketplaces

A marketplace buyer seller live chat offers heaps of benefits that go beyond the typical means for instant communication. When you look closer, it’s a feature way more powerful than you may have originally thought, capable of being used in creative ways specific to the platform it’s installed on.

Regardless of the type of products your website has on offer, a custom chat feature can add a ton of value in multiple areas, improving the overall user experience and sales.


Personalized assistance

Using live chat, buyers receive personalized assistance throughout their shopping journey. Sellers can address specific queries, provide product recommendations based on individual preferences, and guide customers in making informed decisions.

Increased trust

The real-time interaction allows sellers to address concerns, provide accurate information, and build a rapport with buyers. This open line of communication instills confidence in buyers, assuring them of reliable support and ultimately increasing trust in the marketplace platform.

Faster problem resolution

Buyers can instantly connect with sellers to report issues, seek assistance, or inquire about order status. This eliminates delays, reducing customer frustration and enhancing overall satisfaction.

Improved conversion rates

By providing immediate support in addressing buyer concerns, live chat facilitates a smooth purchasing process. The ability to engage with sellers in real-time significantly increases buyer confidence and encourages them to complete their purchases, ultimately improving conversion rates.

Competitive advantage

By offering a direct communication channel which brings the benefits discussed here, marketplace platforms differentiate themselves from competitors who aren't providing means for this kind of connection between their users.

Social interaction

Buyers and sellers can engage in conversations, share experiences, and exchange recommendations. This sense of community fosters a vibrant environment, leading to increased user satisfaction, loyalty, and repeat visits.

Exclusive deals

Live chat can serve as a platform for sellers to offer exclusive deals, discounts, or personalized promotions to drive sales. Buyers feel valued and motivated to explore the marketplace further, resulting in increased customer retention and revenue.

For example, eBay allows sellers to offer dedicated discounts to those potential buyers, who wish listed the specific product they’re selling.

Suggested live chat features for marketplaces

Despite its main purpose remaining clearly defined regardless of the exact marketplace it’s implemented on, a buyer-seller messaging channel can vary significantly in terms of the specific features it offers. That said, in order to create the best possible experience for its users, a custom live chat should incorporate a number of core features such as:

  • Read receipts: Receive confirmation when messages have been read by the recipient, providing transparency and ensuring message visibility in real-time.
  • Typing indicators: Display indicators to show when the other party is typing, enabling a more interactive and responsive conversation experience.
  • Push notifications: Stay connected and get instant notifications on mobile devices, ensuring timely responses and enabling users to stay engaged even when not actively using the app.
Marketplace user engagement
Source: Sendbird
  • Email notifications and email replies: Receiving notifications via email when offline, allows users to stay informed and respond to messages directly through email, ensuring uninterrupted communication.
  • Unread message count: Display the number of unread messages, providing users with a visual indicator of new or unread conversations, enabling them to prioritize and manage their interactions effectively.
  • Embeddable in-chat transactions: Integrate online payment gateways within the chat interface, allowing users to make purchases, complete transactions, and securely exchange payments without leaving the chat environment.
  • Seller and product reviews: Enable users to leave reviews and ratings for sellers and products directly within the chat, facilitating transparency, building trust, and helping other buyers make informed decisions.
  • Reporting features: Empower users to report suspicious activities, scams, or inappropriate behavior within the chat, fostering a safe and trustworthy marketplace environment. These reporting features aid in fraud prevention and ensure the marketplace's integrity.
  • Profanity filtering: Implement automated profanity filters to detect and filter out offensive or inappropriate language in chat messages, maintaining a respectful and safe communication environment for all users.
  • User-to-user blocking: Allow users to block and prevent communication with specific individuals, giving them control over their interactions and ensuring a harassment-free experience.
  • Media sharing: Enable users to share images, videos, documents, and other media files directly within the chat, enhancing communication and facilitating the exchange of visual information.
Marketplace sms chat alternative
Source: Sendbird
  • Content-based chats: Clearly indicate which product does the particular chat conversation concern by displaying information such as the product’s name, miniature photo, and a link to the auction so that there’s no confusion whatsoever as to what the inquiry is about.
  • Conversation history: Maintain a record of chat conversations, allowing users to access and review their past interactions, retrieve important information, and continue conversations seamlessly, even after leaving the chat session.
  • Data encryption: Employ robust encryption algorithms to secure chat messages and user data, ensuring confidentiality and protecting sensitive information from unauthorized access.
  • Antivirus protection: Implement antivirus measures to scan and detect malicious files or links shared within the chat, providing an added layer of protection against potential threats and ensuring a safe communication environment.
  • Messages translation: Integrate translation capabilities within the chat interface, enabling users to translate chat messages in real-time, breaking down language barriers and promoting cross-cultural communication.

The critical importance of a live chat app backend that scales

Building a scalable backend for a buyer-to-seller chat app is crucial if you want to deliver an A-1 user experience. We've identified four key principles to ensure the app's backend can be scaled up and remain resilient.

Principle 1: Reliable network connection

Establishing a dependable connection is essential, especially when handling a large number of concurrent users. Address network limitations and handle temporary disconnections, particularly for mobile devices, to prevent crashes and ensure uninterrupted communication.

Principle 2: Efficient message fanout

Sending messages and notifications in real-time requires efficient distribution. Manage the high volume of messages by splitting traffic across multiple servers, facilitating communication between senders and recipients on different instances or data centers.

Principle 3: Choose the right database

Select a database that can handle a massive influx of messages and provide global replication for chat history. Consider factors like scalability, failover capabilities, low maintenance, predictable performance, and easy distribution across the cluster.

Principle 4: Prepare for traffic peaks

Anticipate and prepare for high traffic periods such as holidays or special events. Account for resource-intensive processes like session initialization and broadcasting messages to large groups, ensuring your system can handle temporary traffic spikes without compromising performance.

For a more detailed explanation of these principles, as well as a discussion of concrete actions you can take to bring them into existence, have a look at our post on engineering a scalable backend for an instant messaging app.

Selecting XMPP and ejabberd as your messaging protocols

Developing a chat app for a marketplace, you need to make sure you choose the right messaging protocols. XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) is a popular open-source technology that supports real-time information transmission. It offers a number of advantages, including:

  • Decentralized architecture
  • Top-notch security
  • Multiple Extension Protocols
  • Two types of encryption
  • Extensive support community

In addition, you may want to use ejabberd which is a highly scalable messaging server that works well with XMPP. Keep in mind that customization may be needed to optimize performance and suit specific use cases. If interested in more detailed looks at these technologies, check out the articles below.

— XMPP vs Matrix vs MQTT

— 22 companies using XMPP and ejabberd

RST Software as a trusted live chat app development company

All in all, a buyer-to-seller chat feature on a marketplace website is the perfect way to facilitate direct, real-time communication between transaction parties. It enables users to engage in conversations, seek clarifications, or negotiate pricing, all within the marketplace platform itself. This feature enhances transparency, builds trust, and contributes to an overall improved shopping experience for both buyers and sellers.

If you're looking to add a real-time communication channel to your marketplace site, we're here to offer our extensive experience with building custom live chat solutions to you.

Contact us and tell us about your case. Together, we'll work out a plan of action to bring about functionality that will delight your users.

Oh, and we also have an ebook on how to build a live chat app and get ahead of your competitors, feel free to grab your copy.

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