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March 1, 2010

Inferior websites wipe £5.65bn a year off retailer profits

Page loading times is chief gripe of users, survey finds

By Vinod

Retailers are potentially squandering £5.65bn a year as substandard websites provoke consumers to abandon their online transactions in droves.

The survey of more than 2,000 consumers by Hostway and Zeus Technology, found that shoppers had abandoned on average 5.5 online transactions over the last year. As each online transaction typically adds up to £30, the researchers estimated the potential loss to UK retailers of £5.65bn, compared with an actual online spend by UK consumers of £38bn.

“I think the problem is there are some ecommerce sites that are more aware of customer experience than others. Some have a simple basket and think, job done,” said Neil Barton, director at Hostway. “The danger is that if consumers have a poor online experience, then this could perhaps reflect on their offline experience as well.”

This perception was backed by the respondents, with a resounding 82% saying that if a website performed badly it would put them off buying from that company online or on the high street.

Chief beef was waiting for pages to download, cited by almost half the respondents. Those retailers that employed video or images to make their websites more exciting could find their efforts backfiring, as the jerkiness of multimedia content and time to upload annoyed 70% of respondents. Other gripes were online advertising (24%), poor site navigation (16%) and bad web links (13%).

Rewarding loyal customers was also highlighted by the study. More than 70% of respondents felt that if they were a regular customer with a site they should be rewarded with a better web experience than one-off visitors.


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