Online shopping may have soared over the Christmas period, but many consumers are far from satisfied with the service received from Web merchants.
According to a report from Internet analysts Jupiter Communications, only 74 per cent of respondents who shopped online during the recent Christmas period were satisfied with the experience, a 14 per cent drop from the same survey done six months ago.
The report found 15 per of online shoppers faced problems with availability, 13 per cent were dissatisfied with the additional delivery costs and 14 per cent said the site performed too slowly.
Many sites underperformed, says Jupiter, because they relaunched too close to Christmas and also found themselves unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic from a large number of first time buyers on the Internet.
AOL said 1.25 million of its US members began shopping online for the first time during the holiday season, while in the UK, AOL said that 65 per cent of orders were placed by first time online buyers. This surge in new users could also have impacted overall satisfaction levels, as the online shopping experience failed to meet high expectations.
Ecommerce analysts have warned companies that offering bargains over the Web is not enough and that they must concentrate on improving customer service to safeguard future business.
This is reflected in the figures - according to the Jupiter report only 37 per cent of online shopper said they would spend more money online next Christmas, while 58 per cent would spend the same and five per cent would spend less.
Jupiter warned in a report published in November that failing to respond to emailed enquiries loses businesses an opportunity to communicate with customers and build brand loyalty. (See Newswire 10 November)
This is particularly true for domestic European companies with traditional channels to market, under new threat from online retailers abroad. Fletcher Research urges UK retailers to realise, although a low cost medium, there are significant delivery and marketing costs of selling online and they will only make money by retaining customers.
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