Forrester Research reports that the U.S. and European ecommerce sectors are extremely healthy despite lingering recessionary conditions in both regions.
By 2017 U.S. online retail sales will reach $370 billion, up from $231 billion in 2013, a 10 percent annual growth rate. In Europe, growth is expected to be a little higher, with online retail sales reaching €191 billion ($247.1 billion) by 2017, according to Forrester, up from €128 billion ($165.6 billion) this year, an annual growth rate of 10.5 percent.
Forrester notes that the U.S. online retail industry will continue to outpace the growth of physical retail stores.
We bring this up because it has direct bearing on customer service and the call center services industry.
Many consumers prefer the convenience of buying online, but there also are two drawbacks: they can’t actually see or feel the product they are interested in buying, and they can’t ask a live customer service person product-related questions.
This helps explain the continuing relevance and growth of the call center outsourcing service business. When consumers go to a web site to buy a product, they can contact a call center customer service representative and ask the questions that would normally be answered by a floorwalker at a brick-and-mortar retail store.
Or they can contact an inbound call center services agent to place their orders. And once a product has been ordered, consumers contact the call center services provider and ask for the status of their orders.
They can do this over the phone, by email or live chat.
It’s why the call center services business, which has been around for nearly as long as the telephone, has continued to prosper even as the internet and shopping online has exploded.
Mark Fichera, CEO
Call Center Services