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Shoppers value sales assistants

27 March 2013 - 09:19 by Graham Miller

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A new report has looked at the way that consumers engage with e-commerce sites and revealed that many people expect to be able to engage with some form of online sales assistant, if they have a question or encounter a problem.

This is not that surprising, given how many people will have developed their shopping habits in the high street, where an employee of a retailer is never more than a few feet away.

However, the study could be a wakeup call for e-commerce outlets, because 44 per cent of respondents to the Redshift Research survey said that they had abandoned a cart while carrying out safe shopping online, because the site made no effort to interact with customers.

Fifty nine per cent of those questioned said that if they did indeed have access to a sales assistant during their online shopping sessions, then the process of making purchases would be streamlined and retailers might end up securing a significant increase in sales.

Nineteen per cent said that they had encountered poor customer service while shopping online, with a 15 per cent slice of the 1,000 people questioned arguing that they were regularly confronted with confusing or contradictory information, provided by e-commerce companies.

Of course, many consumers may have encountered live chat tools on certain sites, that allow you to speak directly with a sales assistant while you are browsing.

These tend to appear on retail sites that are targeted at signing you up for a contract, such as a mobile phone or broadband deal.

E-commerce outlets at which customers are likely to make a one-off purchase, are generally less well equipped in this area, leaving consumers to fend for themselves.

Shopping online should not just be about providing security to shoppers, but also ensuring that they receive a satisfying experience.