Online-based retailers might again witness an influx of orders this holiday season if they bring to fore an important feature that made last year’s shopping successful: free shipping. According to market research company Forrester Research, free shipping catapulted sales in 2010, making it one of the most critical factors for business growth. As small- and midsize online retailers throw in free shipping service on top of enhancing their online storefront to make shopping more conducive, they cannot miss out this most important feature– live chat and order taking services. Live chat is fast becoming an important feature for improving a company’s customer service. This is usually a program designed to assist online shoppers with their concerns. This makes their shopping experience more fulfilling because it is fast, easy, and convenient. Forrester said that live chat services can yield an estimated 105% return on investment for businesses of any size. It has the capability of increasing sales by allowing call center agents to cross- and up-sell products while customers are in the process of selecting items or checking out. Live chat keeps the sales cycle moving by providing a platform for handling questions and queries. Order taking service is a call center service similar to live chat but the transaction is made through telephone. Agents are on hand to serve customers and take orders, closing and processing these orders as soon as possible. This offers peace of mind to customers because they know that a live person is taking care of their transaction from start to finish. Small and medium business owners may want to consider getting a live chat and order taking services through a call center, with its core competencies going far beyond mere customer service. Real providers can assign agents who are properly trained to make proactive conversations with customers, and are readily available 24/7 to help, even on holidays.