SmartHub® Benchmarking Study – October 2013 – Customer Service for Online Retailers

Customer experience is key to online retailing. A good customer experience leads to higher conversion rates, more repeat shoppers and positive recommendations.

Likewise, a poor customer experience results in the opposite: lower conversion rates, decreased incidence of repeat shopping, and negative recommendations. This is true for the entire online retailing cycle from the usability of a website to ease of checkout process, shipping and delivery of products, all the way through the returns process. Arguably, there is nowhere customer experience is more important than when a consumer has a problem and needs help from a retailer to resolve it.

SmartHub®, Innotrac’s proprietary benchmarking tool, provides clients and strategic partners with intelligence and analysis of the online retail purchase cycle. In our study, we evaluate over 225 leading merchants across 81 data points, tracking the entire online shopping experience from retailer policies, to ordering, shipping, packaging, and returns. Beginning in June of 2013, we also began capturing the customer service experience of the merchants in our study, evaluating timing and effectiveness of customer service interactions.

Our SmartHub® Benchmarking study provides an objective analysis of the online retail purchase cycle from a consumer’s perspective. We engage with online retailers as any customer would, collecting data and reporting our findings. In this white paper, we focus on the customer service experience, including results from studies conducted in June and August of 2013.

In our SmartHub® Benchmarking studies, we evaluate live customer service capabilities of the phone and chat channels for retailers in our study. We contacted each retailer in our study 3 times for each channel offered, recording many data points including:

  • Length of time to reach a live representative (and time needed to complete the interaction)
  • Effectiveness of live agent in answering specific questions
  • Surveys or marketing messages offered as a part of the interaction

For example:  Of the 225+ retailers in our study, 100% of retailers offered some form of email Support Types Offeredsupport either through a form on the website, an email address, or both. Almost all retailers (97%) offered phone support. This meets the expectations uncovered in a study conducted by LivePerson. However, we found that only 37% offered support via live chat, contrary to the expected 69% of consumers according to the LivePerson study.

Fill out the form below and click ‘Submit’ to download your Full copy of our SmartHub® Customer Service for Online Retailers report:







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What’s Next?  Our SmartHub® team conducts new studies every 6-8 weeks.  Stay tuned for more reports on our findings and trends in the online retail ordering cycle.

Want to learn more about our SmartHub® Benchmarking Studies?  Contact Us, we’d love to tell you more about SmartHub® or any of our other Innotrac Solutions.