January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Security Tops in Repeat Business

Secure transactions, discounts and free shipping are the most effective ways to entice Internet users to return to shopping sites, according to a survey by Cyber Dialogue, New York. "A clear majority of online shoppers are most interested in simple, easy-to-understand characteristics," says Qaalfa Dibeehi, a senior analyst at the firm.

The survey lists the top draws for repeat visits as guaranteed transaction security (85%), price discounts (79%), free shipping (76%), ease of finding items (69%), and a prominently posted delivery and shipping costs policy (67%). Among the least important: postings of other shoppers' opinions (14%), the ability to personalize information and receive updates (23%), and one-click shopping (30%).

Overall, the survey shows that free shipping steered the decisions of 90%of online adults who made holiday gift purchases in 1999. More than 63% of online users say they prefer to shop at a site offering free shipping over one with well-known brands. Nearly three-quarters of the survey's respondents plan to increase their online purchasing during 2000.

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