‘Cyber Monday’* - the busiest online shopping day of the year - is almost here. But can consumers rely on websites to offer them the best experience when they shop online? With Christmas fast approaching, will shopping for products and services online be more stressful than hitting the high street?
According to a new consumer poll by CA Technologies, shopping online often causes what CA Technologies has defined as Web Stress. Although 95% of consumers shopped online within the last six months, over half (54%) had difficulty in completing their purchase, resulting in Web Stress. In fact, as many as three quarters of people said they felt utterly frustrated by their online shopping experience at one point or another.
From the poll, CA Technologies is able to reveal the Top Five Causes of Web Stress:
1.Slow loading website pages (69%)
2.Pages which are hard to navigate (61%)
3.A lack of contact details (57%)
4.A lack of useful information (55%)
5.Having to repeat billing details (44%)
When faced with a poor online experience, consumers lose their patience in a matter of minutes (6.34 minutes on average)** before deciding to go somewhere else, and half of consumers abort their attempted purchase and go to a competitor’s website instead (53%). This means that businesses are losing customers just at the point where a sale could be made. On top of this, a quarter of consumers stated that they would simply stop using a company’s online service if it resulted in user Web Stress.
Nearly one in five consumers will vent to a friend about their difficulties, while less people (14%) would actually make an effort to phone the website vendor to complain about their experience. This can have a damaging effect on the way brands are perceived, as consumers are often influenced by the opinions of those that they trust, such as friends and relatives rather than how an online organisation markets itself.
* Cyber Monday is the first Monday of December, known as the busiest shopping day of the year before Christmas
** 6.34 minutes is the average time that the Vanson Bourne survey respondents said they were likely to stay on a website when it is performing badly before they decide to go somewhere else
Tom Griffin, Advisor, Service Assurance, CA Technologies said: "Most of us now shop online for convenience, especially at Christmas when we are trying to avoid the last minute rush.
"However, our poll has found that consumers are easily frustrated and suffer from Web Stress when not able to perform simple tasks online, such as finding useful information and having to repeat enter their billing details. This is particularly evident during busy shopping periods, for example, on the run up to Christmas. We undertook our consumer poll in light of the results of a recent CA Technologies research study into what businesses are doing to deal with these issues. We were surprised to find that a stunning 73% of UK businesses do not have a strategy in place to determine how well they are managing their online services.
"If businesses are able to provide a Web Stress-free online shopping experience for shoppers, despite all the extra web traffic, the pain can be taken out of Christmas for both consumers and businesses. But if it continues to be a difficult process for consumers, some may end-up going back to battle the crowds on the high street to avoid Web Stress." Griffin continued.
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