August 19, 2003, 12:00 AM

Most sites can`t tell when an error occurs, says new study

Nearly two-thirds of web sites still present users with some kind of error that interferes with or prevents the completion of a purchase, says a new report from Business Internet Group of San Francisco.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Nearly two-thirds of web sites still present users with some kind of error that interferes with or prevents the completion of a purchase, says a new report from Business Internet Group of San Francisco. The report was commissioned by TeaLeaf Technologies Inc., which provides systems to measure the availability of web content. The two conducted a similar study earlier in the year that showed a failure rate of 72.5%.

¡§It continues to amaze me that although the Internet has clearly come of age as a sales channel, we continue to find revenue-draining web failures on the very retail sites that are considered the Internet¡¦s most celebrated success stories,¡¨ said Diane Smith, Business Internet Group analyst. ¡§We are so busy patting ourselves on the back for the achievement of 100% uptime we are missing a critical truth „o without the ability to see what sites are delivering to the real end-user, 24/7 uptime is a worthless metric.¡¨

The base of retailers studied were those in the Keynote E-Commerce Transaction Index. The Business Internet Group estimates that each failures costs a retailer $278.

Among the problems that ¡§The Retail Industry Report on Web Application Availability¡¨ study uncovered were instances where a customer was unable to purchase after conducting a product comparison, as well as blank pages, wrong pages, wrong items and a variety of technical errors.

¡§What most Internet retailers don¡¦t realize is that customers are visiting their online storefronts only to find the lights on, but nobody at the cash register,¡¨ Smith said.

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