There is a lot of debate about the issue of offering phone sales and service. Many of the large retailers such as eBay and Amazon have all but hidden from customers, by only posting email contact forms. Does that mean smaller e-commerce retailers can get away with not listing contact information?

The large retailers such as Amazon have so much brand equity, and have so many processes in place to automate customer service issues, that they can often get the same conversion rates without a phone number prominent on their site. Unfortunately, most retailers (99% of them) don’t have the brand equity to do that.

There are several reasons why people will actually call you:

  • Ask for product information
  • Ask for estimated shipping information
  • Ask for recommendations
  • Customer service inquiries
  • To determine whether the company is legitimate

At first, you might try to simply address these issues with a more robust website. List frequently asked questions, maybe even interactive forms. Take your product information to the next level with detailed photos, description, etc. But it’s a simple fact that providing contact phone numbers increases conversions.

According to an Elastic path report, 60% of e-commerce retailers provide a contact phone number during checkout. Many online retailers report 10-20% of their business comes from phoned-in orders. In addition, simply having a phone number displayed on your website can increase conversions by simply making your website look more legitimate, increasing trust.

If you have a phone number listed on your website, make sure it is prominently displayed, especially on key pages such as the shopping cart or product detail pages where people will be more likely to have questions. If you don’t currently display a phone number on your website, I’d suggest adding a phone number prominently. Run an A/B split test to see if the conversion rate increases due to the number being displayed, and track how many phone calls you get and how many you are able to convert into customers. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!