Top 3 online retail mistakes: Web shoppers reveal pet hates


British consumers show little forgiveness towards poor eCommerce sites but reward those that perform well and provide them with timely, personalised offers, according to a new survey from Apptus and YouGov. The research, which surveyed 2050 UK adults online, examined customer satisfaction in a number of key areas, including retailers' promotions, recommendations, web site search, navigation and pricing.

According to David Davies, VP of Marketing at Apptus: “After 15 years of eCommerce, UK consumers are setting a high bar for the online shopping experience. They will punish poor performance in areas like search and navigation, while 70% admit to rewarding relevant, well-targeted offers and recommendations. With 3 out of 4 UK adults online shopping online or browsing at least once a month, there is a huge opportunity for retailers who respond to these demands using the next generation of e-commerce technologies”.

1. Little patience with not getting the basics right

When asked for their top 3 reasons for abandoning a purchase, 52% of online shoppers said they would be likely to abandon a site part-way through an online shopping session due to slow performance (e.g. from search results). Unsatisfactory check-out and payment would give a further 41% the hump - ample evidence that the poor technology hits sales hard.

2. Poor Navigation and web site search major turn-offs

Shoppers are particularly critical of poor navigation and site search. More than half (55%) of all online shoppers in the UK would click away from web sites where they planned to make a purchase due to lack of being able to navigate to the product they want. Likewise, the lack of a good web site search function (38%) was one of the three major factors for fed up internet shoppers.

3. Personalised offers and recommendations work

Survey results show that there are ample opportunities to increase spend with personalised offers and recommendations – 70% of online shoppers admitted to being influenced to spend more by personalised marketing tactics. Successful tactics include, relevant promotional offers (45%) and smart recommendations tactics (upsells – being prompted with a more expensive alternative (28%), cross-sells – getting shown what goes with items already in your basket (17%) and seeing what others bought (13%).

"The best, most profitable web sites are the ones that create relevant and highly usable shopping experiences. They deliver simple, easy to use navigation, search and recommendations, and customise what the user sees and is offered. They do what a traditional sales assistant would have done, offering them a personal service tailored to their likes and needs”, continues UK-based David Davies. “Technology to create this experience automatically by learning from what users do and buy has been developed in one of the most e-commerce savvy countries in the world - Sweden. And now Apptus is making the next generation of e-commerce available in the UK”.

Other key facts in the YouGov research:

• 43% of all UK adults online shop for something at least once a week online. 7% every day, 20% use e-commerce a few times a week and 16% once a week.

• When online shoppers were asked for the top 3 things they shop online for most often, nearly 4 out of 10 (39%) plan their travel (e.g. flights, hotels and holidays) online as well as fashion and shoes (38%) - highlighting that this remains a major area for e-commerce even during tough times. Amongst the top three items people shop for most often are books, CD´s and DVD´s (62%), travel (39%), fashion and shoes (38%,) electric appliances, computers and games (29%) as well as food and drink (23%).

• Poor navigation (55%), slow web sites (52%), poor check-out/payment processes (41%) and poor search (38%) are among the top three factors that would make consumers leave retailers they intended to buy from.

• Reviews and ratings remain a big influence on purchases with 35% looking to them to make a decision - proving that the human element in cyberspace is an area that e-traders must tap into to win sales and trust.

• Frequent online shoppers were also asked to list three areas that most influenced them to shop online. Unsurprisingly a good price was top at 82% followed by an easy search to find items at 43%.


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