When it comes to shopping, the Web offers the ultimate convenience, unlimited choices, and a wealth of information. As a result, consumers these days are doing more and more shopping online or are making in-store purchases based on Web-influenced decisions.
By 2014, online retail sales in the United States are forecast to grow to $250 billion. This growth presents a tremendous opportunity for companies with a Web presence to grow their customer base and provide high quality customer service and sales in the online environment.
Today, TELUS (News - Alert) International, a national telecommunications company, and Kenna LLC, a consultancy that helps companies increase sales through multi-channel customer service, released research showing that 69 percent of top retailers are now using online sales or support chat as a customer service channel, which marks a significant 24 percent increase in sales chat adoption in only two years. These statistics show that more retailers are seeing the benefits of engaging with customers online in real-time.
The whitepaper, entitled ‘Live Chat Market Adoption – Who’s Chatting Now?’ by TELUS International in partnership with Kenna, analyzes which major online retailers offer online chat and whether it is used as a customer support service, a sales service or as both.
“These highly technical, social shoppers continue to change the way companies do business, causing retailers to shift their online strategies. Interactive retailing will become ‘the norm’ as customers incorporate online and mobile platforms into their shopping habits. Online chat is a key component of this – and a profitable customer contact channel if used to support sales,” said Al Rose, vice president, Retail and Internet Properties, TELUS International, in a statement.
Image via Shutterstock
Some key findings about live chat in the report include:
· Of the 42 retailers analyzed, almost half (45 percent) of companies used online chat for sales and customer support, including Dell (News - Alert), HP, Microsoft, Amazon and Macy’s
· Almost two thirds (60 percent) use online chat to offer customer support
· Over half (55 percent) offer online chat to support sales
· 29 percent of companies don’t yet use online chat at all, including several national retailers
Since TELUS conducted similar research two years ago, 59 percent of the 29 retailers originally surveyed now use online chat - compared to just 31 percent in 2010.
“While the popularity of online chat is increasing, there are still obstacles to overcome. Companies still struggle with delivering a high quality chat service when customers ask a wide range of sales and support questions,” said Rose. “Also, online chat is implemented differently between corporate websites making it difficult for some customers to find the service, and thereby reducing awareness and effective use of the communication channel.”
TELUS and Kenna surveyed 42 online retailers who specialize in technology, financial, services, and consumer goods to evaluate their current usage of live chat.
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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo