December 20, 2011, 2:19 PM

Web sales grow, but not all shoppers are buyers

The percentage of web shoppers who made a purchase declined in Q3.

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The percentage of web shoppers intent on making a purchase remained stable at 29% of site visitors in Q3 of 2011 compared with the same period last year. But the rate of those who made a purchase declined to 54% compared with 63% in the prior year quarter. That’s one result of a quarterly report by shopper survey data provider iPerceptions Inc. that gathered information from more than 140,000 consumers who visited 335 retail and e-commerce sites that use iPerceptions products.

Although industry reports show e-commerce sales continue to rise, the Retail / E-Commerce Industry Report suggests web retailers are leaving sales on the table. Among those visitors who said they went to a web site to make a purchase, 35% said they did not complete a transaction because they couldn’t find the product they were looking for and 34% said the product they were looking for—and found—wasn’t available.

Other reasons for unfulfilled transactions included unclear pricing and comparisons (13%) and a lack of product information (9%).

The drop in what iPerceptions calls task completion indicates that e-retailers are “not in touch with what’s most important to customers,” says Claude Guay, president and CEO of iPerceptions. “Sales would be better if online retailers identify and address the biggest barriers to task completion, which include understanding customer intentions, not just what customers click on.”


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