January 24, 2006, 12:00 AM

Negative online experience poses risk to retailer’s brands, survey says

82% of consumers in a survey by rich media applications provider Allurent say they’d be less likely to return to a site where they’d had a frustrating shopping experience. A third said they’d also be less likely to buy at that retailer’s stores.

A negative experience at an e-retailer not only can lead to lost online sales, but could directly lead to a reduction in offline sales, according to a new survey. 82% of consumers polled in the 2005 Holiday Shopping: Online Customer Experience Survey, conducted by rich media applications provider Allurent said they’d be less likely to return to a site where they’d had a frustrating shopping experience, and a third said a negative online shopping experience would also make them less likely to buy at that retailer’s brick and mortar store.

In other findings, 55% of those surveyed said their overall opinion of a retailer is negatively affected by a frustrating online shopping experience. Under the umbrella of negative online experiences were issues including poor site navigation, problems with checkout, inadequate browsing capabilities and insufficient product detail. According to the survey. 51% of respondents said they abandoned their shopping carts even though they had intended to buy product son the sties. Reasons cited for abandonment included having to click through too many pages to checkout and the checkout process being too long.

Consumers showed an interest in rich media as part of the online shopping experience, with 76% of those responding to the survey saying they were more likely to buy at a site that offers rich features such as product zoom and 360-degree product views. 54% of respondents who choose to shop in a store versus shopping online do so because shopping in a store allows them to understand product better–demonstrating the need for retailers to offer rich site features that provide this experience, according to Allurent.

81% of those responding said shopping online in the holiday season just completed was convenient, but only 57% said it was trouble free and only 29% described it as fun. 66% said they would be more likely to buy online if it was more like a positive shopping experience in a store.

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