While consumers are continuing to feel the bumps associated with the relatively new online shopping experience, overall they're happy. Many more Americans are beginning to make purchases - rather than just browse - online.
According to recent research by Dataquest, a division of the Gartner Group, about a third of the 37 million online households have made an online purchase. Of these online buyers, 2.4 million (20%) have experienced problems with e-tailers. 49% did not receive their shipments (of those who didn't receive their orders, 50% were charged for them), while 25% were unable to reach the merchant's customer service department via e-mail.
Yet, despite prevalent fulfillment and customer service frustrations cited by online shoppers, 88% say that their online shopping experience has been satisfactory. The reason? Dataquest speculates that the convenience of online shopping outweighs other issues. While this may be true as consumers discover the online shopping experience, it cannot last. Surveys have indicated that on-time delivery and top-notch customer service are among the most important loyalty factors for online consumers.
Smart e-tailers will adjust any bugs in their fulfillment strategy and customer service offerings in anticipation of higher consumer expectations in the future.