Customer Retention Without Tears Staff

Updated · Sep 13, 2001

A new study examines ways in which e-tailers and online content providers can keep customers satisfied without incurring unnecessary expenses.

Entitled “Back to Basics: Enhancing User Experience at Low Cost,” a report by Jupiter Media Metrix unifies two seemingly irreconcilable opposites — keeping a tight budget whilst satisfying increasingly picky online consumers. Whilst acknowledging the importance of implementing new technologies and site enhancements in certain situations, the report asserts that consumer needs can, more often than not, be met without exhausting rapidly shrinking resources.

“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 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.

In some cases, however, more glitzy enhancements are unavoidable.

Jupiter suggests that e-tailers need to consider the addition of chat capabilities, streaming media, and the ability to customize layout as means of keeping the attention of finicky consumers.

Before making too many tweaks, Jupiter recommends that e-companies conduct surveys to find out for themselves 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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