October 13, 2009, 12:00 AM

Survey finds consumers want more live online help options

Online browsers are more likely to become buyers if given access to live online help—via phone or text chat—suggests a new ATG-commissioned survey.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Online browsers are more likely to become buyers if given access to live online help-via phone or text chat-suggests a new ATG-commissioned survey.

The survey found that 58% of consumers ranked live online help as an important retail web site feature, behind only user-friendly navigation (75%) and reasonable prices (68%). Moreover, nearly 85% of consumers who regularly browse, research and buy products and services online say that they want the option of live online help for sales or service assistance for situations such as finding more information about a product or service, learning the retailer’s return policy or for assistance with completing an order.

Despite consumers’ desire for live online help, only a fraction have actually used the technology, the survey finds. About 37% of consumers say that they have used live chat, while only 21% say they have used click to call. However, the report suggests that the low usage figures may be due to a lack of availability, since 70% of consumers say that click to call would be very or extremely useful when making an online purchase and 52% say that click to chat would be very or extremely useful.

Online market research firm MarketTools conducted the online survey of 1,052 U.S. consumers 18 and older in 2009’s second quarter. ATG is an e-commerce platform provider.

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