Online Shoppers Expect More, Retailers Have One Chance to Impress

February 1, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Retail & E-Commerce

Some 67% of consumers say their expectations about the quality of their online shopping experience had increased from the previous year – and 80% say they would would be less likely to return to a retailer’s site after a negative online shopping experience, according to an Allurent survey.

Major reasons cited for the rising expectations:


  • I know that technology is constantly changing and improving and I expect that online shopping should also be getting better (66%).
  • I see that most retailers consistently advertise their websites so I expect to see them invest in making those sites better than they were last year (46%).
  • I have high-speed bandwidth and expect to see more online stores better presenting products in a way that takes advantage of my faster internet speed (41%).
  • I am familiar with interactive and visual sites like Google Maps or Facebook and I expect to see more online stores being innovative like these sites (29%).

Nearly half (48%) of 18-24 year-olds cited interactive web experiences, such as those of Google Maps and Facebook, as the reason for the rise in expectations.

The third annual “Holiday Shopping: Online Customer Experience Survey” sought to better understand consumer online shopping behavior and attitudes toward online retailers. Allurent worked with the e-tailing group to establish pre- and post-holiday benchmarks.

Below, additional findings from the survey.

Negative online experiences damage brands


  • An overwhelming 80% said they would be less likely to return to a site after having a negative online shopping experience there – i.e., with most customers, retailers have one chance to make a great impression.
  • Consistent with the results of Allurent’s two previous holiday surveys, consumers confirmed that they do not differentiate among channels:
    • Nearly 40% said a frustrating online experience would make them less likely to shop at that retailer’s physical store.
    • 60% reported that when they have a frustrating shopping experience online, it negatively impacts their overall opinion of the retailer/brand.

Customer service features are valued, especially by women


  • When asked to rate customer service features that are most important to them when buying online:
    • 74% of consumers rated a perpetual shopping cart as an important feature (ranking it a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5).
    • 70% rated one-page checkout as an important feature, rather than having to click through multiple checkout pages.
  • These two features were rated above other options such as access to a toll-free telephone number, available live help, and accessible contact information.
  • More women than men found customer service features to be of high importance.

Interest in desktop shopping is strong

More than half (53%) of consumers surveyed expressed interest in virtual catalogs and circulars that can be downloaded directly to their desktops, so retailers could update information on new merchandise and special offers.

2008 online holiday spending outlook is good

  • Consistent with the past two holiday surveys, consumers reported that they purchased more holiday gifts online this year than they had in the past.
  • Based on their online shopping experience this year, 67% plan to shop online more during the 2008 holiday season.

About the study: The 2007 “Holiday Shopping: Online Customer Experience Survey” was conducted in January 2008 via Zoomerang, an online survey services provider, and is based on 721 respondents (46% male, 54% female).

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