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Websites are Failing Consumers this Holiday Season

Posted on 12.16.2008

A study by customer analytics firm iPerceptions finds that consumers are not being served well on retailers' websites. The mid-holiday report surveyed data from 300,000 website visitors in November and December, 2008. Task completion rates at consumer electronics sites were 60% for the holiday season to date, and just 52% on Black Friday and 54% on Cyber Monday.

The leading barrier to task completion were product-level (62%), including lack of detailed information (33%), items not in stock (30%) poor selection (14%) and indadequate customizability (11%). Just 13% of task completion barriers were due to price.

From the press release: "In a challenging holiday season, consumer electronics retailers saw nearly 1 out of every 2 site visitors leave their site without completing their primary purpose of visit," said Jonathan Levitt, vice president of marketing at iPerceptions. "This wasn't due to pricing concerns, in fact it was primarily a function of inadequate information and inventory. Our report indicates that a few simple fixes, such as adding ratings and reviews, could have tremendous impact on the bottom line in the final days of the holiday season."

The message here is clear: Make sure your product descriptions are accurate and detailed, and try to include some user reviews, ratings and testimonials. In addition, keep close tabs on your inventory. Not having something in stock doesn't just mean the loss of a sale. Brand experience comes into play. According to the study, consumers who are able to complete their tasks report an enhanced brand opinion 67% of the time - as opposed to 18% of those who experience failure.

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