Online Shoppers Wary of Online Shopping

Tim Scannell

Updated · Nov 25, 2005

As online retailers are gearing up for an expected deluge of business this
holiday season, shoppers are fretting over making purchases on the Internet,
according to a study.

Although predictions for a hot shopping November and December are widespread, a new study suggests
nearly 90 percent of those making online purchases, at least some of the
time, become frustrated with the process.

And perhaps most disturbing to businesses counting on big holiday numbers to
carry them through the year is the fact that more than 80 percent of shoppers polled said
they are unwilling to accept lower levels of customer service online than
they would offline.

“This next wave of online consumers is far less tolerant than they used to
be,” Rebecca Ward, chairman and CEO of TeaLeaf Technology, told

The research team from Harris Interactive, commissioned by TeaLeaf,
conducted the study of online shopping, banking, travel and insurance Web
site transactions, also found that one in three consumers would move on to a
competitor if they experienced a problem.

Some common transaction problems included error messages, a poorly navigable
Web site, the inability to complete a transaction due to an endless loop and
difficulty logging onto the Web site.

Only 3 percent of online consumers
felt Web-page download speed contributed most to a positive customer
experience online.

“Today, even the most sophisticated companies are forced to depend on their
customers to report online failures versus proactively identifying issues
impacting their customers,” Ward said. “A single common Web application
problem such as an endless loop or a business logic issue, for instance,
could cost an e-business thousands if not millions of dollars.

“Online transaction failures can have a huge negative detrimental impact on
businesses,” Ward continued. Failure to complete a transaction often results in
customers abandoning transactions, ultimately costing millions in lost
revenue for companies, she added.

“This just goes on to show the lack of confidence a user has while shopping

One solution, said Ward, is TeaLeaf’s end-to-end process measurement and
reporting technology dubbed RealiTea.

RealiTea passively captures what
every customer does and sees in real time, enabling immediate detection,
analysis and response to issues preventing customers from successfully
using online services.

“Too many businesses are unaware where the problem even exists,” Ward said.

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