Gomez surveys reveal gap between expected and actual performance of online shopping sites
LEXINGTON, Mass., Nov. 1, 2006 – Retailers will leave millions of dollars on the table this holiday season unless they dramatically improve their customers’ online experiences, according to results of two new surveys commissioned by web application performance management leader Gomez, Inc. And poor online performance leads consumers to not only abandon purchases but to abandon the retailer, both in its online and physical forms, the surveys found.
Nine out of 10 consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping online, yet nearly half (47 percent) have frequent problems completing online purchases and nearly all complain that web sites load too slowly, the surveys indicate.
At stake is the $501 to over $2,000 that just over half (54 percent) of respondents plan on spending this holiday season as well as sales at brick-and-mortar stores whose brands are damaged by poor online performance, according to the surveys. These stakes are only getting higher: a record 114 million users are projected to spend $32 billion online this holiday season, up 18 percent from 2005, according to JupiterResearch .
The surveys revealed that, after experiencing one to three unsuccessful attempts to complete an online purchase, 87 percent of respondents said they would give up on that online retailer. Sixty-five percent would stop, or at least reconsider, shopping at the retailer’s brick-and-mortar stores if they had a poor experience online.
“The correlation between an unsatisfactory online experience and potential revenue loss has never been stronger,” said William Agush, VP of marketing at Gomez, Inc. “Now more than ever, online retailers need to focus on ensuring a consistently superior web experience that will drive sales and brand loyalty – or risk losing the customer to a competitor.”
The Gomez surveys found that retailers especially risk disappointing big spenders. A “Big Spender” Online Power Shopper typically spends $1,500 or more online each year, shops at least once a week online and almost 40% spends over $100 per transaction. An overwhelming 90 percent of Big Spenders blame the retailer’s web site when things go wrong. This Big Spender is male and married, between 31 and 45 years old, and has earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
“What we’ve learned is that online shoppers have high expectations for their online experience and a low tolerance for downtime, inconsistency, and slowdowns,” Agush said. “These shoppers are quick to assign blame for poor web performance to the retailer. They have money to spend, and if their retailer’s web site does not deliver, they are quick to take their money elsewhere. In the highly competitive holiday shopping season, what retailer can afford to throw money away due to poor web performance?”
Survey company Zoomerang, on behalf of Gomez, polled 519 people in the U.S. during the month of September 2006 for its “Online Customer Experience” survey which sought to understand online shoppers’ experiences and attitudes. For Gomez’s “Online Power Shopper Report,” Zoomerang polled 267 people in the U.S. during the month of October 2006, seeking to identify the profiles and behaviors of various categories of online shoppers. Respondent profiles for both surveys included an equal number of men and women age 18-45 that shop online.
Resource for Benchmarking Retail Website Performance
Gomez has created a dedicated resource to discover the web performance levels of the top 50 online retailers during the 2006 holiday shopping season. Located at www.gomez.com/holiday_shopping, readers can view real-time data gauging the availability, response time and consistency levels of these retailers during their busiest season. Visitors can also access full reports for the “Gomez Online Customer Experience” study and “Online Power Shopper Report” there.
This benchmark is one of several Gomez Benchmarks that provide a real-world view of how long it takes to navigate a web site and how frequently that process is impeded by errors. Gomez takes a task-based approach to performance monitoring by emulating typical customer interactions to establish performance management standards. Gomez provides benchmarks for the following industries and processes: Airlines – Flight Search; US Banking – Account Details; US Brokerage : Discount – Generate Order; US Brokerage : Full Service – Research and Generate Quote; Credit Card – Account Details; Hotels – Room Search; Media – Article Search; Retail – Product Order; Canadian Banking – Account Details; and Canadian Brokerage – Generate Order.
Gomez is the leading provider of web application performance management solutions. Utilized by 500 companies worldwide, including 8 of the top 10 most visited sites, 6 of the top 10 retailers, 8 of the top 15 financial services firms, and 4 of the top 10 industrial companies, Gomez products and services help companies achieve and maintain peak performance of their Internet applications. Founded in 1997, Gomez provides performance measurement, benchmarking and competitive insight through 24/7 real-time alerting, problem identification and web site monitoring from more than 12,000 locations. Gomez is Network Computing magazine’s “Editor’s Choice” for best Internet performance monitoring service. For more information, please visit www.gomez.com.
Gomez, Gomez.com, Gomez Performance Network, and Gomez WorldView are trademarks and/or service marks of Gomez, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.