Consumer Behavior

The Online Customer: 3 Issues To Consider

Consumers continue to use technology to grab more power in their buying experience. For a recent report on the online customer experience, LivePerson conducted nearly 6,000 interviews in six countries. Their findings reveal:

  • A wide diversity of sophistication in the online buyer
  • Empowered customers that want to leverage in-store and online channels to maximize their buying power
  • A consumer that is demanding fast, easy help tools to solve their online buying issues

Here are three things from the report you should consider.

  1.  Diverse Customer Sophistication. Only one in six online customer are considered "experienced" defined as "rarely needing help when purchasing online." More than half are "semi-dependent" and sometimes need help. A third are "dependent" with limited online buying experience and often need assistance.
  2. Channel Blur. The lines between online and in-store shopping are being erased as customers now use both in the purchasing process. Almost 80% of shoppers often or sometime conduct online research before shopping in a store. One in four shoppers conduct research on their mobile device while in the store. Although impulse buying is most associated with in-store purchases, half of the respondents say they often or sometimes end up spending more than they planned while shopping online.
  3. Demand for Help. Online shoppers are demanding speed and simplicity in response to their questions and issues. More than two-thirds want help within five minutes and a third want it IMMEDIATELY. Half will abandon the site if help doesn't arrive within their expected time frame. Half give up immediately when they are looking for help prior to an online purchase. They want multiple choices to get help for sales and customer service, but they won't use them all.

One of the answers to this growing issue is Live Chat. According to the report, this interactive customer service channel:

  • Meets the needs of speed and simplicity
  • Garners high marks for customer satisfaction
  • Increases the likelihood of a completed purchase
  • Engenders customer loyalty
  • Enhances brand trust

The study shows that although the online buying began as a self service model, it has now changed to a more interactive, collaborative experience. Customers want information and engagement. If you're a brand with both an online and physical store presence, that means you need to ramp up customer service to ensure you capture your share of the spend of this newly empowered customer.

What are you seeing from your online customers? How are you engaging them in meaningful and helpful ways?

Photo Credit: code poet via Compfight cc