Online retail giants that survive focus on customer service as part of their offering.
Online retail giants that survive focus on customer service as part of their offering. iStock

Are you being served? Online support key for customers

As more of us are buying our furniture and homewares online, there are both pitfalls and advantages that we need to be aware of. One of the top-performing sales categories online is furniture and homewares. The advantage of this category is that you don't need to try on a side table to see if it fits you.

Shopping online certainly has its many advantages, including the ability to research and browse to your heart's content from the comfort of your laptop or desktop. It also makes it easier to directly compare prices and products.

One of my go-to favourite interiors sites is Interiors Online (interiorsonline.com.au/). A massive site that sells a huge range of contemporary furniture, homewares and decor pieces, Interiors Online recently commissioned a comprehensive customer survey that produced some interesting results.

The number one reason customers chose to buy from the site was the great range of products available. This response was repeatedly given.

But interestingly the reply that ranked at number eight, and was repeated at least every 10-20 replies, was a comment about the back-up human, customer service Interiors Online offered their customers.

Personally, I think this is the key to successfully selling and purchasing online.

While we now have the ability to search for products and compare prices with great ease, when it comes to making a decision, returning an item or any form of customer request or service, online stores need to back up their online offerings with genuine, human customer service.