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Are Your Consumers Getting The Job Done?

07 April 2010 - 09:46 by Paul Tissington

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Online retailers could be losing millions of pounds a year from customers who start their safe shopping online on a site but ultimately fail to make a purchase, according to the most recent Retail/E-Commerce Industry Report from web analytics company iPerceptions.

The report looked at the feedback provided by some 500,000 consumers who had just used one of 200 selected retail sites over the course of the fourth quarter. This was designed to draw conclusions as to why consumers came to each site, if they had managed to successfully complete their transaction on the site and if they had not, what factors had prevented them from completing their safe shopping online with that particular e-retailer. Although the research analysed the US e-retail market, online retailers can always learn new lessons and find new insights from the latest research, this being no exception.

The major findings of the report centred around task completion, with some consumers reporting that their tasks were not completed as their needs were simply not being met. This is always a concern for online retailers. Even if an e-retail site has quite a high task completion rate, that site could still be losing significant sums as a result of failed transactions. The iPerceptions data should therefore encourage retailers to keep an eye on the task completion rates of consumers.

So why do consumers not complete their transactions? The report found that 40 per cent of consumers do not always find the exact product they require, with some products, for example, being out of stock. Other consumers, some 35 per cent, blamed site navigation issues whilst 9 per cent said that they did not find all of the product information they needed to make that purchase. Other contributory factors included the delivery and returns policies of the site, product pricing and technical issues.