Online retailers are in a mess

Online retailers are in a state. For weeks now they have been buoyed along by the theory that thanks to the recession people will flock to the Internet to buy things. Predictions even include the notion that online sales will rise by 11% this year – in spite of the economic downturn.

Online shopping

Online shopping is not a happy experience

It’s hard to see why people will flock online when they are deserting the bricks and mortar stores in their droves. True, they may want to find bargains or they may wish to reduce their travel expenses – but they will still be spending money which they would rather avoid. Indeed, as reported earlier this year, there is evidence that people plan to spend less in 2009.

Now there is new evidence that suggests why this might be the case. Two new studies are released today which reveal worrying news for anyone trying to sell things online. Firstly, according to Internet Retailing, satisfaction with online shopping has fallen back to the levels of 2006. In other words, in spite of three more years of development, people are finding that online shopping is less positive an experience. Online retailers seem to be making things worse for shoppers, rather than better.

A second study shows that people are giving up online shopping because there aren’t enough payment options. Indeed, if a customer’s preferred form of payment is not available up to half of them will give up buying. Most Internet retailers accept credit cards – but it seems that many shoppers would prefer to pay in other ways, including cash. Failing to accept all forms of payment means that you lose shoppers from your web site.

If you are trying to sell things online you ought to review your ecommerce functions as soon as possible. Is shopping on your site a happy experience? Is it easy to use and navigate? Or is online shopping at your web site only feasible if you have an engineering degree? Similarly, what payment options do you offer? If you only offer a few, you are losing up to 50% of your potential market.

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