Gomez Survey Reveals Impact of Positive Web Experiences on Online Retailers’ Holiday Sales

Survey finds online shoppers won’t tolerate poor experiences

LEXINGTON, Mass., Dec. 6, 2006 – “Three strikes and you’re out” turns out to be just as true for e-commerce as it is for baseball, according to the results of a survey of more than 1,000 online holiday shoppers released today by web application experience management leader Gomez, Inc.

More than nine out of 10 shoppers will simply abandon an online store after three or fewer unsuccessful experiences to complete a purchase, the survey found. And not every shopper will hang around that long. Three out of four shoppers complained that web sites generally load too slowly, and more than half said they would switch to a competitor’s site when that happens.

With $24.3 billion in projected online sales through November and December1, retailers need to ask themselves, how many of these sales are they losing to their competition? Enticing shoppers with great deals, free shipping and assurances of security won’t work if a website is slow to load or errors occur in searching or checkout, the survey indicated.

“If one store can’t deliver a positive online shopping experience, then a competitor’s site is just a click away,” said William Agush, VP of marketing at Gomez, Inc. “Online shoppers have exceedingly high expectations this holiday season, and they are an unforgiving crowd. It appears that ensuring a quality online experience trumps brand loyalty, and even savings.”

The Gomez Online Holiday Shopping survey also underscores the interplay between various sales and marketing channels, as well as the power of old-fashioned word-of-mouth in making or breaking a brand:

  • Bad news travels fast. Almost half of respondents (47 percent) would tell five or more people if they had a bad online experience. Jupiter Research has forecast 114 million online holiday shoppers this year, so if just 10 percent were to have a disappointing online experience, almost 27 million people could hear about it.

  • Poor online experiences can harm brick-and-mortar sales. This stems from the fact that survey respondents research an average of 30 percent of all their purchases online before buying offline. And, 64 percent said that if they had an unsatisfactory online experience, they would stop, or reconsider shopping, at that retailer’s brick-and-mortar store.

  • Conversely, 71 percent of shoppers at brick-and-mortar stores said that a bad in-store experience would also make them stop, or reconsider shopping, at that brand’s online counterpart.

  • Multichannel retailing works. Sixty-two (62) percent of respondents use print catalogs to drive their online purchasing decisions.

“Worst Nightmares” from a Selection of from Online Shoppers

The Gomez survey provided respondents with the opportunity to illustrate some of their most frustrating online shopping experiences this holiday season. Highlights include:

  • “We were over-billed 500 percent, and every attempt to solve the issue resulted in another charge!”

  • “I spent almost an hour putting an order together, and when I tried to check out the site seemed to get caught in a loop and I couldn’t complete the order!”

  • “I ordered bandanas and got bananas!”

Survey Methodology

Survey company Zoomerang, on behalf of Gomez, polled 1,173 people in the U.S. during the month of November 2006 for its “Online Holiday Shopping” survey, which sought to understand holiday shoppers’ behaviors, experiences and expectations.

The full survey report, as well as the real-time performance rankings of the top 50 online retailers during the 2006 holiday shopping season, can be found at www.gomez.com/holiday_shopping.

About Gomez

Gomez is the leading provider of web application experience management solutions. Used by 500 companies worldwide, including eight of the top 10 most visited sites, six of the top 10 retailers, eight of the top 15 financial services firms, and four of the top 10 industrial companies, Gomez�s hosted services help companies ensure superior online experiences that satisfy customers, enhance brands and drive profits. Founded in 1997, Gomez provides the industry�s only complete solution for managing web application experience from development through deployment and the entire application life cycle, featuring real-user and active monitoring, competitive benchmarking, and more than 12,000 data sources worldwide. 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 ExperienceFirst, Gomez ExperienceFirst Network, Gomez WorldView, and Actual Experience XF are trademarks and/or service marks of Gomez, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.