US etailers have made buying over the internet easier, quicker and more reliable this year, according to a study by Andersen Consulting.
Ninety-two per cent of attempted holiday purchases over the internet were successful this year compared to about 75 per cent last year, the management consulting firm found.
"Etailers have learned from their mistakes of last year and developed strategies to address e-fulfillment and supply chain issues and more importantly, improved their execution," said Robert Mann, an associate partner at Andersen Consulting.
According to the study, customer service improved significantly across the board. Seventeen per cent more sites provided an expected delivery date this year while 82 per cent of etailers provided email order confirmation, up from 67 per cent last year. Meanwhile 26 per cent of sites sent shipment confirmations, up from 21 per cent last year.
The study also found that traditional retailers' sites still take longer to place orders, compared to etailers, but the gap has closed from three minutes last year to only a minute and a half this year.
Mann also said that etailers are being very careful to ensure that consumers are more aware of deadlines, even at the risk of losing a sale.
Anderson also attempted to place 563 orders for clothing, books and toys, at 97 different web sites over a seven-day period and was able to complete 517 of the 563 orders. Reasons for failure at some sites were because they either crashed, were under construction or were blocked.
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