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Why aren’t more people making purchases online?

Date: 12/09/2005 | Category: Business | Author: Diana Heeb Bivona

Hint: A little human interaction on your Web site may close the sale.

From: E-Commerce Times January 2000 By: Dean Cruse

Despite consumers’ growing acceptance of doing business online, e-commerce still tends to be an unprofitable sales channel for many. Yes, people come to e-commerce sites and look around, but retailers often find themselves wondering why more of those people aren’t making purchases.
Many of the reasons stem from one simple cause: people tend to prefer doing business with other people. Web sites are great for doing research, but when it comes to making an actual purchase, many customers need the reassurance of human interaction.

By providing a simple method for customers to get real-time answers online to their questions, a company can help its conversion rates skyrocket while raising its customer service levels to a new level.

Real-Time Answers Make the Difference

Ideally, Web-based customer service should include both self-help and live-help capabilities. Most companies will find that a large percentage of customers prefer to help themselves to the information they need. And for those who don’t need real-time assistance, just the knowledge that representatives are available makes the shopping experience more satisfying.

In addition, real-time interaction with an informed representative encourages completion of the sale. In a traditional sales environment, salespeople are available to assist and to close the deal.
According to a September 1998 study by Jupiter Communications, 47% of people are more likely to buy online with the addition of real-time customer interaction. Profit margins increase as well because a live person can effectively cross-sell and up-sell to the customer. A static site doesn’t have that advantage.The ability to have a conversation with a live representative also makes customers feel more secure. Even though Web-based security has become a very manageable issue, many customers are still hesitant to enter their credit card information in an online form. Yet these very same individuals will hand their credit card to an anonymous waiter in a restaurant or give their information over the phone to an unknown mail-order catalog representative. The difference is human interaction.

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