RealTime IT News

Online Merchants Need to Improve Customer Service

A study of online holiday shopping habits shows while electronic commerce is steady growing, merchants have some work to do.

According to PeopleSupport.com, shoppers who purchased gifts online bought an average of six gifts this season, with an average purchase price of $134 per gift.

Thirteen percent of these holiday shoppers spent over $100 on a typical holiday gift purchase, while 4 percent spent over $500 on a typical gift item purchased on the Internet. Forty-one percent purchased gifts in the $26 to $200 price range, with 33 percent spending in the $10 to $25 price range.

But not everyone was a satisfied customer. According to the survey, almost a third of online shoppers stated that there were one or more online stores that they refused to shop with again, with 19 percent saying that two or more online retailers had earned their disapproval.

Also, shoppers aged 18 to 24 were particularly critical of their online merchants, with 46 percent saying that they would be reluctant to shop at one or more e-tailers again. Men were more critical of their online shopping experience than women -- 35 percent of male shoppers could name one or more Internet retailers that they were reluctant to shop with again, as compared to just 28 percent of women shoppers.

Sometimes, there is no substitute for a salesperson's opinion. Twenty-nine percent of Internet shoppers said they wanted to ask their online merchant a question -- but the online retailer provided no way to do that. That non-responsiveness cost online merchants: 22 percent of online shoppers intending to make a purchase from an Internet retailer decided not to after receiving no response or an untimely response to a question posed of the online merchant.

"Industry estimates say that online retailers may lose as much as $2 billion this holiday season because they failed to provide adequate online customer service," said PeopleSupport.com President David Nash.