A lack of face-to-face interaction with online shoppers is harming e-commerce sales, according to new research.
The market research by industry analyst, Redshift Research, on behalf of Whisbi, the lead management technology provider, sampled the views of 1,000 online shoppers.
It found that 43% of respondents have abandoned their online shopping baskets in the last 12 months, with almost half (44%) citing lack of customer interaction as the primary reason.
A further 34% admit that a lack of support deters them from shopping online altogether whilst 59% of respondents believe that being able to see and speak to a sales assistant would make the purchasing process easier.
19% of respondents dislike the poor customer service experienced when purchasing online, whilst 15% dislike the conflicting and confusing information that is available.
The research also highlighted that 61% of Travel shoppers do all or most of their shopping online, closely followed by Utilities (57%), Financial Services (55%), IT (49%), Electrical Goods (48%) and Telco/mobile (46%) shopping. Furthermore, 70% of shoppers miss being able to see and feel a product ahead of purchasing online but only 20% find the physical shopping experience more enjoyable.
• 43% of consumers have abandoned their online shopping baskets in the last 12 months
• 34% believe lack of customer support deters them from buying online
• 53% would be more likely to purchase online if they were able to speak and see someone on live video
• Almost half of all respondents now do most of their Financial Services, Travel and Utilities shopping online
Commenting on these findings, Dylan Fuller, UK Country Manager at Whisbi, says, “The research results demonstrate that the average retailer is surprisingly blasé about their checkout system and as a consequence is suffering from a poor conversation rate. A significant percentage of retailers with an online presence aren’t aware of the real frustrations their customers experience when shopping online, therefore the purchasing experience needs to be fundamentally rethought.”
Fuller continues, “Despite live web-chat being integrated into various websites that alone clearly isn’t enough to diminish consumer concerns. The logical extension to this is to introduce a visual element, so that consumers can put a face to the brand and consequently have a personal assistant to help them through the purchase. This needn’t mean two-way video chat, but rather an immediate free call-back option, with a synchronised video stream online so that the customer can see who they’re talking to.”
According to Whisbi, in conversion terms this can make all the difference. Fuller explains, “Online consumers can be turned off quickly because it costs them nothing to exit one ‘store’ and enter another. They will, therefore, choose a site that offers them the easiest and most enlightening experience and the one that makes them feel the most secure and re-assured. Having a friendly face ready to engage in conversation is inviting and makes the customer feel more engaged from the outset. Often, as indicated by the results in this research, it is the lack of the personal touch and the lack of a face to the business that undermines consumers’ trust in making a purchase.”
To read the research findings in full, download the Whisbi eBook by clicking here