A new study done by the ATG Research Group reveals that while consumers use their computer or cell phone to browse and research about a product or service, they ultimately make purchases in the store or through a contact center representative.

The online study polled 1,054 American consumers from ages 18 and above, and asked about their use of various channels which include computers, mobile devices, stores, catalogs and call center representatives to gather information about or to complete buying a product or service. The study likewise gathered significant data regarding their customers’ experiences.

– 43% of surveyed respondents said they called customer service representatives because they could not find the information about a product or service online

– 39% said they went to the store because they prefer to touch and feel the product

– 36% said they visited the store to compare several brands of the same product

– 22% said they opted for the store because they needed to receive the product immediately

– 19% said they chose to call a customer service representative because the online buying process was too complicated or they encountered an error

– 19% wanted to ask about the return/refund policy

– 15% said they wanted to ask a customer service representative about shipping options

These findings emphasize the importance of providing quality online information to help customers make wise decisions about brands available in the market. Merchants however should make it easy for them to speak with a customer service call center agent for questions regarding their online research.

Data sources: ATG Research Group, “Cross-Channel Commerce: The Consumer View” report, March 2010