Providing customers with plenty of information during the buying process can help convert more browsers to buyers, according to a new survey of US web users.

Harris Interactive’s Online Retail Report (pdf) surveyed 2,873 US adults, finding that 48% of respondents have increased their online shopping habits.

One interesting stat from the survey was that 44% of consumers have abandoned their shopping cart because they couldn’t find answers to questions about the purchase or the product.

In addition, 56% said that the ability to find information during the checkout process would be helpful when shopping online, and 42% wanted to be able to find the answers themselves, rather than having to wait for a response to an email query, which can take a while in some cases.

In the UK, companies have been criticised for failing to provide online self-service for customers. A study of 125 major UK firms found that just 17% were providing acceptable customer self-service solutions.

Further reading:

Six ways to improve online experience