retail news in context, analysis with attitude

This number may or may not realistic and defensible, but it is interesting nonetheless...

According to a new Ovum survey commissioned by STELLAService, which describes itself as “the first completely independent customer service ratings agency,” the value of great online customer service in 2010 is $17.3 billion.

According to the press release, the survey “paid particular attention to the way in which great service impacts the buying decisions of online consumers. It was concluded that consumers in the online retail category are willing to pay an even higher premium for great service (10.7%) than they would in most other categories. Based on the average amount spent by online consumers each year, the survey found that $17.3 billion of value can be created in 2010 by Internet retailers that offer excellent customer service. Due to the seemingly distant and remote nature of online shopping, it makes sense that consumers would pay a higher premium to have the comfort and peace of mind that they
KC's View:
Regardless of whether this number has any connection to reality, this story made me think about the issue of sales taxes being levied on online purchases. If online customer service is that good - and I would argue that in many cases, it is superior and even more customized than that in many brick-and-mortar retailers - then maybe the online folks shouldn’t be concerned about taxes. If they offer a positive and customized experience, with sharp prices, the taxes may not matter.

Just a thought.