September 26, 2006, 12:00 AM

Poor performance means lost sales and opportunity, new study says

90% of web shoppers still experience performance-related problems such as broken links, pages that don`t load and poor navigation, causing 40% of them to abandon a transaction, according to a new study from TeaLeaf Technology and Harris Interactive.

Another study reaffirms what web retailers should already know: poor site performance causes lost sales and missed customer opportunities.

But the new study, conducted by Harris Interactive and commissioned by TeaLeaf Technology Inc., also reveals that nine out of 10 web shoppers still experience performance-related problems such as broken links, pages that fail to load, poor navigation and other issues. As a result, 40% of online consumers abandon their attempt at completing a transaction, the study says.

The survey also revealed that while online adults are substantially more likely to have conducted a shopping transaction this year compared to last year (66% in 2006 vs. 62% in 2005), customers are increasingly unwilling to tolerate lower levels of service online, with 85% of adults expecting service levels online to be the same as offline, compared to 82% in 2005.

91% of online consumers who experienced any type of problem when conducting an online transaction said they are at least somewhat likely to question the ability of a company to keep their private data secure if they encounter an online issue. Since web site security (26%) and ease of completing a transaction (22%) are the top two factors contributing to a positive customer experience when conducting an online transaction, any type of problem or issue has the potential to negatively impact the trusted relationship between the consumer and the web site, with severe implications for the brand, the study says.

"These findings clearly show how online issues can really undermine consumer confidence in a company`s brand, and can have a damaging effect on a company`s sales growth and image," says TeaLeaf CEO Rebecca Ward.

The top problems that would cause online consumers to immediately and permanently turn to a competitor`s web site include: incorrect information or lack of adequate information on the web site (41%); inability to complete the transaction due to an endless loop (36%); difficulty navigating the web site (37%); and being automatically kicked off the page (25%). Harris Interactive conducted the survey among a nationwide sample of 2,790 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older.


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