November 20, 2014 – The U.S. Commerce Department announced that American consumers spent $78.1 billion on e-commerce purchases in the most recently completed quarter, with e-commerce representing 6.6 percent of all retail sales.
That’s a jump of 16.2 percent in e-commerce consumer activity over the third quarter of 2013 and more than 4 percent above Q2 of this year.
The news for overall retail sales also is positive, with total revenue up 4.2 percent from Q3 2013, to $1.2 trillion, according to the Commerce Department.
E-commerce purchasing – 6.6 percent of total American consumer activity – is now at a record high, up from 6.4 percent in Q2 2014 and up from just under 6 percent in Q3 of last year. In calculating e-commerce activity, the Commerce Department includes purchasing made using both PCs and mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
While these numbers are encouraging, at OnBrand24 we would have assumed e-commerce has more than a 6.6 percent share of total retail activity, given how many e-commerce companies we work with as client partners. Customer service for e-commerce companies is a critical factor for building a loyal and returning customer base. E-commerce companies need knowledgeable, friendly and effective call center customer service representatives handling phone calls, live chat inquiries and email response. They need agents who make consumers feel welcome, who understand that they are “the face of the company,” and that maximize consumer orders through helpful suggestions of complementary products.
As more e-commerce companies come to recognize the critical importance of customer service for consumers who have product-related questions, who are having difficulties placing their orders online and who need to change or track the status of their orders, we expect to see the e-commerce sector only grow as a proportion of the overall retail industry.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Portsmouth, New Hampshire