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August 28, 2009

Americans Are Missing That Loving Feeling Shopping Online: Survey

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor

There is no doubt that online shopping brings piece of mind and convenience, especially during the holiday season when most Americans rather get a root canal then step foot in any retail store.


However, according to recent survey commissioned by Santa Clara-based IMShopping and conducted by Harris Interactive (News - Alert), of 2,274 adults, ages 18 and older, are missing that personalized experience given to them in a brick and mortar store.


The survey found that nearly 3 in 4 U.S. online adults, 74 percent, have purchased items online in the past six months. Commonly purchased items were clothing – 44 percent, books – 38 percent, music – 28 percent, health and beauty products – 28 percent and travel related items – 28 percent. Sporting goods – 9 percent, automobiles – 4 percent and real estate – 1 percent, was found to be also purchased online.


On average, 4 out of 5 online adults who had purchased items online in the past six months – 77 percent say they would be interested in getting help from a real person before making certain online purchases. Over half said they'd want help from a real person before purchasing things like real estate – 56 percent, automobiles – 54 percent, and insurance – 51 percent.


Other categories included live assistance when purchasing personal computers – 42 percent, computer hardware/software – 39 percent, home appliances – 35 percent and mobile phones – 31 percent.


Many online stores have live chat capabilities, however if such services aren’t available many say the lack of getting the help they need when purchasing a product is a deciding factor. Over half – 52 percent –who have not always been able to get the help they need from a real person say it had affected their decision to not purchase the product some of the time, while 16 percent said it has affected their decision not to purchase the product almost always or often.


"No level of automation can replace the human touch. The results indicate that shoppers still want real people to help them purchase products, even in a digital setting," said Prashant Nedungadi, CEO and founder of IMshopping, a social media shopping firm. "Many retailers have started taking steps in this direction and we believe it will be the single biggest push for the retail industry over the next several years."


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Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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