Last Christmas was the most active ever for online shopping, but while retailers are excited that consumer confidence is returning, they are still trying to understand what turns ‘browsers into buyers’.

When consumers shop online, they often fill their baskets with the things they want, but then leave without buying. They abandon their basket.

Consumers still find the lack of interaction with a sales assistant is an issue, especially when buying things such as groceries and clothing. Being able to engage with your customer and answer their queries makes all the difference in whether they decide to make a purchase.

Consumers need to feel confident that they have all the information they need before their money is spent.

Research carried out by independent analyst Verdict found that while the online shopping population has grown from 17 per cent in 2003 to 60 per cent in 2009, growth rates in the market are set to decline from 270 per cent in the period 2003-2008 to 69 per cent over the next five years.

So it’s clear that retailers need to instil a higher degree of focus and effort in persuading consumers to spend on their web sites and this is one of the areas where innovative technology and services can really assist retailers. Service like ‘Click-to-chat’ can help a shopper to feel like they have been given the individual attention they want.

Basket abandonment is a fact of life for online retailers, but it should be viewed as an opportunity to get closer to the customer, not as a problem that needs to be fixed, because the customer is already there and interested in your products, you just need to enagage to close the sale.