Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
Most web sites don't incorporate minimum standards for usability and lack basic components, which can result in frustrated customers and lost opportunities, according to a new study by Giga Information Group. In the study, the latest from Cambridge, Mass.-based Giga's Web Site ScoreCard service, analysts compared approximately 200 web sites to basic industry standards as set forth by a variety of commerce authorities. The study found that two-thirds of the surveyed web sites didn't include action links -- such as "buy online" or "learn about a product," which inform visitors on what they can do on the site. Some 43% of the sites were missing basic navigation tools, such as text navigation at the bottom of the home page, a global navigation bar, and a link back to the home page from all interior pages. And half the sites didn't have a link to a site map from the home page, while 39% didn't include a link to a site search tool -- key features for customers trying to maneuver through the sites. "Companies are failing to adhere to some of the most basic standards on the front end of their e-businesses," says Steve Tellen, Ph.D., vice president of Giga Information Group. "If a company's web site lacks basic components, users will quickly migrate to sites that are meeting minimum standards."