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Pleasing Finicky Consumers Shouldn't Cost an Arm & a Leg

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Posted February 26, 2002 By Staff     Feedback

The needs of online consumers can be met without overdue expenditure alleged a recent study.

The needs of online consumers can be met without overdue expenditure alleged a recent study.

In a time when dot-coms are coming under increasing financial and consumer pressure, keeping customers satisfied without incurring unnecessary expenses is becoming mission-critical juggling act for e-tailers and online content providers alike. Whilst acknowledging the importance of implementing expensive new technologies and site enhancements in certain situations, a recent report by Jupiter Media Metrix claims that consumer needs can often be met without overly exhausting rapidly dwindling e-budgets.

Dubbed "Back to Basics: Enhancing User Experience at Low Cost," the study in question unifies two seemingly irreconcilable opposites. "In the current business climate, it is more important than ever to give users the best possible experience," notes Jupiter analyst Cormac Foster "Nonetheless," he adds, "companies need to make the best use of their budgets in the near term and should avoid risky, glamorous Web enhancements."

One sure fix for e-tailers, suggests Jupiter, is regaling curious customers with extensive product information. According to a detailed Jupiter survey, 59 percent of online consumers profess that they would return to a retail site if they were sure of finding increased product information. A further 26 percent indicated that product suggestions would prompt them to return. Purveyors of online content (such as news) would stand to benefit most from upping the speed, notes Jupiter citing the fact that nearly half of surveyed Web surfers indicate faster-loading pages as a primary motivation for returning to a site. As far as e-tailing sites were concerned, Jupiter adds that 26 percent of surveyed consumers cite speedy page-loads as a good reason for re-visiting a site.

Sadly, glitzy enhancements are sometimes unavoidable. Chat capabilities, streaming media, and the ability to customize layouts are all features that e-tailers need to consider implementing in order to keep the attention of picky online consumers, suggested the research firm. Before making too many tweaks, however, Jupiter recommends that e-companies conduct extensive surveys to find out for themselves exactly what makes their customers tick. "Well-orchestrated surveys are likely to show companies that they can achieve a high level of user satisfaction by making only basic and inexpensive enhancements," concludes Foster.

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