January 20, 2011, 1:21 PM

British e-commerce sites scrambled to keep up with the holiday shopping boom

Nearly a third of Brits who shopped online bailed out, citing customer experience issues.

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Many British consumers turned to the web to shop this holiday season, with 44% upping their online spending over last year to push online sales up to 2.8 billion pounds ($4.48 billion). But e-commerce sites weren’t fully prepared for the shift, with 45% of web shoppers encountering a less-than-perfect customer experience and 32% abandoning a transaction, according to a study from Tealeaf Technology Inc.

Among the British consumers who increased their online holiday spending over 2009, 58% cited convenience, 52% cited stress reduction and 52% cheaper prices online.

However, some issues specific to online shopping cropped up. 13% of the consumers who abandoned a shopping cart pointed to problems or errors they experienced on a web site. Shipping costs caused 13% to end an online transaction, while 8% did so because of the retailer’s shipping times.

Those issues could cause problems for retailers in the future, according to the survey. 46% of consumers said they’d be less likely to buy from a company after having a poor experience on its web site. 9% of consumers said they’ve shared their negative online shopping experiences on social media, which could have a ripple effect because 34% said they would not buy from a site if they heard about another consumer’s poor experience on the site.

“In addition to denting e-commerce revenues in the short term, these avoidable mistakes are also damaging consumer trust, as well as brand reputation, leading to long-term revenue losses,” says John Lillie, Tealeaf vice president.

The study of 2,122 online adults was commissioned by Tealeaf, a vendor of customer experience management software. The survey was conducted Dec. 27 to 29 by British research firm YouGov Plc. 

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