The worldwide online retail market has a growing potential. More and more consumers are looking for convenient, informed and satisfying shopping experiences online. They are using the internet to research price, quality and delivery options, and sharing ideas and opinions on social networks. Online retailers are expanding rapidly across borders. By entering diverse and challenging markets worldwide, do they need a phone contact number at all?
According to a recent survey by Forrester phone support continues to be the most popular support channel. It seems, that despite all the efforts of call centers looking for ways to help customers help themselves (via email, online chat or even mobile apps), 79% of customers prefer a one-on-one conversation. In other words: call centers are here to stay.
Premium customer service plays a key role in building business success, and the well established international ecommerce websites generally have a phone number, that is displayed in a prominent position on their home page. Showing commitment to local customers and creating customer proximity is essential for any international web outlet. The same way a cross-border web shop eventually offers local languages and local currency payment facilities,it is vital to feature a virtual local phone number on the homepage at the very least.
A recent survey conducted by Accenture reveals, that the top barriers to market entry in cross-border e-commerce are the costs of building brand awareness in a foreign country, as well as the small scale and the unproven demand of some markets. Virtual geographic, International Toll-Free or International Premium Rate phone services are powerful business tools in mitigating the risks of a new market entry, as they enable companies to test the new markets with a pure play online retail model, before setting up brick-and-mortar stores.
The best consumer experience can be achieved by implementing international 0-800 (ITFS) or 00-800 (UIFN) toll-free numbers, that are designed to facilitate cross-border ecommerce. These are the international equivalent of the domestic toll-free services, enhanced with international call forwarding and intelligent routing options, that allows you to forward inbound leads to multiple locations or to experts based upon their capacity, expertise, language and availability.
E-commerce websites targeting foreign markets can undoubtedly earn trust from their visitors by providing international toll-free contact numbers. Visitors will be drawn to web shops that have one of these numbers, as it simply makes a business appear more legitimate and trustworthy. Building trust for a new international brand is essential, especially in case of companies that are entering new markets with a pure play online model, not having any brick-and-mortar stores in the given countries.