Many large German online retailers difficult to reach by phone
At more than a fifth of the largest German online retailers, phone numbers for customer service are either not available or difficult to find. Shoppers with a phone number often only have support during business hours.
This is revealed in the Versandhandelsstudie 2023, research by Salesupply and parcelLab examining the service of the top 100 online retailers in Germany.
The two companies scrutinized customer service and shipping propositions of the largest web sellers in Germany. Their research focused on the top 100 names from the top one thousand recently published by EHI and ecommerceDB in their E-Commerce Market Germany 2023 study.
The telephone is the most offered customer contact channel among major German webshops, with 93 out of the top 100 offering this service. However, a significant portion of them requires customers to search extensively for the phone number. This makes more than a fifth of the top 100 not or barely reachable by phone for customers.
Of the one hundred largest online retailers in Germany, 7 cannot be contacted by phone at all, as mentioned. Additionally, 14 of the top 100 players are only available on weekdays during business hours.
14 online retailers can only be reached during office hours
Apart from the most common customer contact channel (before email at 81 percent and chat at 28 percent), the phone is also the fastest channel for German online shoppers. On average, they were connected after two minutes and 33 seconds, while emails are typically answered after an average of 34 hours. A quarter of the online retailers offering customer service via email respond within an hour.
The research further indicates that free delivery is on the decline among the top German sellers: only 6 out of 100 companies now offer standard free delivery, whereas the share was 14 percent in 2020. Nearly half of the large online retailers now use an order threshold for free delivery, and 45 percent always charge shipping costs.