People less satisfied with Internet shops

Shoppers are becoming less satisfied with Internet shops. The research company Foresee has shown that consumers are now less satisfied with Internet retailers than they were a year ago.

One in four people are dissatisfied, according to the on-going study. For a site with millions of visitors that could spell disaster as hundreds of thousands of people could then “spread the word” of their dissatisfaction through social networking sites and review sites.

Considering that online retailers knew a year ago that not everyone was satisfied it is somewhat amazing they appear to have done little to rectify the situation; indeed it seems they have actually made things worse. In fact the gap between satisfaction and dissatisfaction is growing, according to the researchers, which they describe as “worrysome”.

One of the key factors in the dissatisfaction with online shops is poor navigation. That’s not “news”; we have known for ages that clear, accurate and relevant navigation is essential to every web site. Many retailers, it seems, have still not learned the basic lessons.

The Foresee study also reveals that impatience amongst shoppers is a cause of dissatisfaction. People get frustrated if they cannot locate what they want in seconds. Equally, they get frustrated if they cannot get help when they need it, or if their delivery takes too long.

So, if you have an online retail operation here are the key things you need to do to improve customer satisfaction:

  1. Overhaul your web site navigation making it accurate and relevant. For instance, at Christmas time the navigation needs links to “presents” etc. In other words, retailers need seasonal navigation, or navigation that changes according to specific items in the shopper’s calendar. Software retailers, for instance, should have navigation to the “2009” editions of standard programs.
  2. Ensure every page has immediate help available – preferably, live 24/7, “speak to a person” kind of help. Having an email form that says “proudly” that we’ll get back to you in 48 hours was OK in 1995, but not any longer. People expect IMMEDIATE support.
  3. Revamp your delivery policies and suppliers. “Next day” delivery is a standard requirement, as is delivery outside of normal office hours – i.e. evening deliveries to private households is now expected, rather than a “nice add on”.

Internet retailers are clearly failing to keep up with customer expectations since the gap between satisfaction and dissatisfaction is widening. Worrying too is the fact that one in four shoppers are dissatisfied. Internet retailers have a lot of thinking to do this Christmas if they are to do well next Christmas.

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