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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 12, 2009

One-third online shoppers abandon slow, unreliable websites

Added-value promotions, free shipping and great discounts may well have brought consumers to your website over the 2008 holiday season, but if you can't provide them with 100% uptime, reliability and speed those consumers are likely to abandon their visit. What can you do to re-engage consumers who have fled your website in frustration?

by Helen Leggatt

guidance.gifA recent Guidance/Synovate survey highlights the frustration caused by slow websites, or websites that crash. While 64% of the 1,000 consumers surveyed shopped online during the survey period of 19-23 December, 2008, without any issues, over a third (36%) experienced problems that led, in the main, to website or shopping cart abandonment.

Consumers encountered frustrations such as:

Website slow while shopping - 13%
Website froze/crashed - 8%
Unable to make a purchase at first attempt - 7%
Website down/unavailable - 6%
Apparent successful transaction failed to complete - 4%

So what can online retailers do to reduce consumer frustration and abandonment? Jason Meugniot, chief executive of Guidance, advises retailers to concentrate not only on lining up enough servers to cater for increased traffic, but to develop relationships with application support professionals to ensure the smooth running of the back-end database, e-commerce applications and the overall website. "Finding an experienced and reliable hosting and managed services provider is vital, to make sure retailers capture every transaction and keep customers coming back for more," he said.

Research has found that over $50 billion in revenues are lost each year due to shopping cart abandonment and online retailers must take steps to re-engage consumers who do so. Not only does abandonment lead to losses in revenue, but a survey by Tealeaf in September last year found that 84% of affected consumers go on to share that experience with others, both on- and offline.

One way in which consumers can be re-engaged is via an email reminding them of current specials being run, or provide additional information on the specific products/services that they were viewing on the site. After all, the consumer was engaged enough to attempt a purchase in the first place. eWayDirect provides just such a platform, and has seen email open rates for their re-engagement emails exceed standard open rates by 50%.

Tags: email, eWayDirect, Guidance, online shopping, re-engage, reliability, shopping cart, speed, Synovate, Tealeaf, uptime, website crash

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