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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Poorly performing websites costing retailers up to £5.65bn per year

Monday March 1 2010

Research reveals ongoing user frustrations with slow loading multimedia content

Research reveals ongoing user frustrations with slow loading multimedia content


Research released today by Hostway and Zeus Technology, has shown that retailers are potentially losing up to £5.65 billion per year in lost sales.


This is because consumers were abandoning online transactions due to poorly performing websites, they said.


The survey of 2,033 consumers highlighted that on average they had abandoned 5.5 online transactions per person over the last 12 months. With recent figures from shopping comparison site, Kelkoo showing that UK consumers were spending on average nearly £30 per transaction this, the vendors said, made it clear that retailers were still missing out on significant online revenues.


“Last year UK retail consumers spent £38bn online, yet it is clear that many people still have frustrations when shopping online,” commented Neil Barton, director at Hostway. “The research revealed that over two thirds of the respondents were wasting on average up to two and a half days a year reloading or waiting for web pages to load properly. With many of today’s websites containing a lot more multimedia content, it is important that consumers receive a good online experience otherwise they may simply abandon their transaction.”


Performance issues prove turn-off


The research also revealed that a massive 82% of consumers said that if a business’ website performed badly it would dissuade them from buying goods from that organisation on the web or even in store. This, the research concluded, clearly demonstrated the importance of having a good online perception and the need for retailers to ensure their online customer experience is a positive one.


Many retailers have used online images and video to make their websites more attractive and interactive, however it has also led to them seeing more performance issues. Nearly three quarters (70%) of the people surveyed said they were frustrated by how long it takes many websites to load images and by the start-stop nature of multimedia web content. When asked what was the biggest user frustration when visiting websites, ‘web pages taking too long to load’ (46%) was cited at the biggest complaint. This was followed by ‘online advertising’ (24%), ‘poor website navigation’ (16%) and ‘bad web links’ (13%).


Interestingly, the research also revealed that the majority of consumers believed customer loyalty should dictate the online experience they receive on certain websites. 71% stated that if they regularly purchase goods from a particular website they should be rewarded with a better web experience than those people who are just browsing.


Ensure user experience scales


“Online traffic will continue to grow, so it’s important that retailers ensure that their websites are scalable enough to cope with large visitor numbers and large amounts of multimedia content. The latest traffic management solutions can help ensure that retailers are able to provide the best possible online experience, even allowing them to inspect and route traffic based on visitor type and profile. All of which can improve the speed and responsiveness of their websites,” commented Graham Moore, e-retail specialist at Zeus Technology.


The online survey of 2,033 GB consumers was commissioned by Hostway and Zeus Technology and was conducted by independent research company TNS.