January 13, 2006, 12:00 AM

At e-retail sites, looks count

68% of respondents to a survey by online marketing and web design company Questus Corp. said they distrust a site that doesn’t look professional.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Looks count-at least when it comes to retail web sites. 68% of respondents to a survey by online marketing and web design company Questus Corp. said they distrust a site that doesn’t look professional. Questus also found that 25% of shoppers leave a site if they find it difficult to locate products. In addition, shoppers prefer fewer rather than more links on each page.

Consumers also don’t like being forced to register. The report found that nearly a third of online holiday shoppers left a site without making a purchase because they didn’t want to register.

The survey of 425 employed respondents over the age of 18 also found that 77% of Internet users made online purchases during the holiday season and almost 40% made half or more of their 2005 holiday purchases online. In addition, 40% of online shoppers plan to spend even more online during the 2006 holiday season.

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