This is money that struggling pureplay eTail firms can scarcely afford to lose. And the main reason carts get abandoned is largely avoidable: poor customer service. It's no surprise, then, that the market for eService technological solutions is expected to be worth more than two billion dollars by 2005.
Real world supermarkets aren't the only ones to have a problem with abandoned shopping carts. eTailers will spend a record $460 million on eService solutions this year, yet despite this level of investment, online consumers are still likely to abandon their shopping carts because of poor customer service. The percentage of abandoned online transactions that could be salvaged and converted to sales will increase from 7.8% in 1999 to 8.7% by the end of the year. This translates into $10.9 billion in lost eCommerce revenues, or up to 34% of an individual company's online sales.
At the moment, customers are most likely to be frustrated by email responses to shopping enquiries, whilst they are most satisfied with sites that have direct interactive communication capabilities, or that provide phone numbers for resolving service issues. Shoppers expect an immediate response to their enquiries, but email response times are still extremely slow, sometimes taking days. Although the response time has improved over the past year, the demand for online satisfaction has become so overwhelming that many companies cannot keep up.
Addressing this problem should be a key concern for eTailers. In the current climate, no dotcom can afford to throw away this kind of money. eService solution companies like Kana, eShare, eGain, Quintus, Primus, Brightware and Servicesoft offer technological solutions that attempt to remedy such online customer service problems. Clearly, their services are needed: the revenue lost by poor service dwarfs the cost of improving it. Indeed, Datamonitor predicts that the provision of eService solutions will boom, becoming a $2.3 billion business by 2005.