December 7, 2006, 12:00 AM

Good site performance trumps brand loyalty and savings, survey says

More than 90% of online shoppers abandon a web store after three or fewer unsuccessful experiences to complete a purchase, according to Gomez. Even worse for ill-performing e-retailers, 75% of shoppers complained that web sites generally load too slowly.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

More than 90% of online shoppers abandon a web store after three or fewer unsuccessful experiences to complete a purchase, a survey of 1,173 online holiday shoppers by research firm Gomez Inc. says. Even worse for ill-performing Internet retailers, 75% of shoppers complained that web sites generally load too slowly, and more than half of those shoppers said they would switch to a competitor’s site when that happens.

With billions in projected online sales in November and December, retailers need to consider how many of these shoppers they are losing to their competition; enticing shoppers with great deals, free shipping and assurances of security won’t work if a web site is slow to load or errors occur in searching or checkout, says William Agush, vice president of marketing at Gomez.

“If a store can’t deliver a positive online shopping experience, then a competitor’s site is just a click away,” Agush says. “Online shoppers have exceedingly high expectations this holiday season, and they are an unforgiving crowd. It appears that ensuring a quality online experience trumps brand loyalty, and even savings.”

The Gomez Online Holiday Shopping survey also concludes that bad news travels fast. 47% of respondents said they would tell five or more people if they had a bad online experience. Projections from JupiterResearch forecast 114 million online holiday shoppers this year, so if just 10% have a disappointing online experience, 27 million people could hear about it, Gomez notes.

The Gomez survey provided respondents the opportunity to elaborate on their most frustrating online shopping experiences thus far this holiday season. Comments were not pretty. “We were over-billed 500%,” said one customer, “and every attempt to solve the issue resulted in another charge.” Another customer had a big surprise when the order arrived, “I ordered bandanas and got bananas.”

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