Poor Customer Service Will Cost Online Retailers $3.2 Billion This Christmas.
Businesses lost $1.6 billion online last year by failing to Web-enable their customer service operations. According to a new research report by global market analysis firm Datamonitor, "Web-Enabled Call Centers: Filling Up the Shopping Cart," this amount could double to $3.2 billion by this Christmas.
Datamonitor's research indicates that the key to growing e- commerce profits is to maintain customer loyalty by offering live online customer service from representatives in call centers. However, only 8 percent of the 69,500 call centers in the U.S. are currently Web-enabled. Other key findings of the report include:
- Less than 1 percent of all e- commerce Web sites currently offer live customer assistance.
- Ten percent of abandoned shopping carts are salvageable if better customer service was provided.
- The online customer support market will grow from $150 million in 1998 to $2 billion by 2003.
- Forty percent of all call centers in the U.S. will provide multimedia customer service by 2003.
- Seventy percent of the 200 vendors offering an online customer service solution are start-ups.
Retailers are getting the message and shifting the focus of their e-tailing efforts from sales to customer service. They are being helped by a select group of companies with cutting-edge, online customer service technologies.
For more information, please visit Datamonitor's Web site at http://www.datamonitor.com/.
DM Review Announces the 1999 Data Warehouse 100
On Monday, Nov. 15, 1999, DM Review magazine presented its premiere Webcast announcing the 1999 Data Warehouse 100 Top 10, selected by the readers of DM Review. DM Review began identifying the rankings of the Data Warehouse 100 on October 4, 1999 in reverse chronological order. Three rankings were revealed daily until November 15, when the top 10 companies were announced in the Data Warehouse 100 Webcast.
All vendors in the Data Warehouse 100 will be featured in DM Review's December 1999 issue. A top executive from each company will respond to the question: How does the e-commerce and e-business focus being adopted by corporations throughout the world impact the business intelligence and data warehousing market, your company and its products?
The Data Warehouse 100 was determined based on the results of a product usage and vendor rating survey of DM Review readers conducted over the Web by Market Perspectives. DM Review readers were asked to rate the vendors of business intelligence and data warehousing products used in their organizations. Vendor ratings were compiled into an index that accounted for the mean rating, the number of responses, the comparative position of the vendor in each product category, and the number of categories in which the vendor's products appeared.
For more information about the 1999 Data Warehouse 100, visit http://www.dmreview.com/awards/top100/.
BizRate.com, NPD Joint Survey Reveals 75 Percent of Online Consumers Are Abandoning Shopping Carts
According to a study released by BizRate.com, a leading e- commerce rating and marketing research firm, and The NPD Group, Inc., a leading authority in consumer panel research, the majority of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts and change their minds before completing a purchasing transaction. The joint panel survey, which drew more than 10,000 respondents, revealed that 75 percent of online consumers have abandoned shopping carts in the past three months. An online shopping cart is a term used to describe how an e-commerce site keeps track of the items each customer has chosen to purchase. When the shoppers are ready to pay, they are able to review the merchandise they have collected in their carts and proceed with the checkout process.
When asked why they're abandoning online shopping carts, 31 percent of respondents claimed they simply changed their minds. Another 24 percent decided that the shipping and handling costs were too expensive. What is happening to these lost sales? Thirty-nine percent of the survey respondents did not purchase the items at all. Another 26 percent purchased the product from a competitor, while 17 percent went offline to get it. The remaining 18 percent did return to the same site at a later time to complete the transaction.
Even though consumers regularly abandon shopping carts, they are still returning to the site to make purchases. In fact, 58 percent of the survey respondents stated they went back to the online store, and, of those people, 53 percent made purchases during subsequent visits. Furthermore, 74 percent of online buyers say they are very satisfied with their overall online buying experience.
Predictably, the study indicated the items most often abandoned are also the ones online consumers are buying most frequently: books, music, computer software, computer hardware and apparel.
For more information about the study, visit http://www.bisrate.com/ and http://www.npd.com/.
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Rachel Rasmussen was a Web Editor of DMReview.com.