Internet shoppers must be confused

Shoppers online must be a pretty confused bunch of people. After all, we clearly want to shop online – the graph for items purchased on the Internet is near vertical; we just keep buying more and more stuff online, day in day out. That is shown by recent research for the online retail organisation, IMRG. This shows that consumer confidence is growing rapidly.

Meanwhile, though, a study performed by Harris Interactive shows that 90% of online shoppers experience transaction problems. Hang on a minute, say that again. At the same time as consumer confidence is rising, nine out of ten of them experience difficulties in buying stuff online. Surely both can’t be true?

After all, if such vast numbers of people have real problems in buying online, how can they be confident in Internet shopping? Clearly that’s not possible. Or maybe it is.

Both studies show that the main reason for concern is lack of web site security. The IMRG research showed that consumer confidence rose because of increased faith in web security. In the Harris Interactive study, researchers discovered that the most important requirement for online shoppers was a secure web site.

So, if you run an online business you need to demonstrate your site is secure. You need at the very least an https address, which will show the on-screen padlock. You also need to remind people your shopping cart is secure.

However, that will only get you so far. You need to rigorously test your online retail system so that it is easy to use, confirms completion of sales and has an easily found help system. Doing so, it seems, will increase confidence even further and will also ensure your transactions are not problematic for your shoppers. By doing so you make it much more likely they will continue with the purchase – 37% of people give up at the final stage of buying from web sites simply because of shopping cart errors. In other words, people who want to buy from you decide not to give you their money for no other reason than your shopping cart system has not been thoroughly tested. You have been warned…!

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