January 4, 2011, 1:12 PM

Online shoppers want to track shipments and chat live with customer service agents

A Limelight survey also points to the importance of product videos for consumers.

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Retailers hoping to boost online sales should focus on enabling  consumers to track deliveries, talk via the web with customer service agents and offer video product demonstrations, suggest survey data from Limelight Networks.

The content delivery network based its findings on surveys of some 1,600 consumers in August. The three most important customer service features for online shoppers were the ability to track shipments through a personal computer or mobile device, with 79% of respondents calling for that; online customer service chat or instant messaging, 45%; and videos that show how to assemble or install products, 39%.

The consumers who demand the most online customer service are also those who spend the most on the web—that is, at least $301 annually for travel, apparel and consumer electronics Limelight says. 79% of travel shoppers rate online customer service extremely or very important for web shopping, with 65% of apparel shoppers and 59% of consumer electronics shoppers saying the same thing.

Additionally, 53% of survey respondents who shop online more than once a month deem customer service as extremely or very important, compared with 45% who shop online once a month and 40% who shop online every four to six months.

That’s not say that all online shoppers want their hands held by customer service agents, the survey results suggest. 43% of respondents said that personalized, secure log-in features that store preferences and product model numbers would cut down on calls to customer service agents. 35% said a searchable database for videos and online manuals would do the same.

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