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In Online Retail, Usability Is Rated No. 1

Curtailing abandoned or failed purchases

June 24, 2010

Some online retailers are updating their looks for better navigation, while others are focusing on the bells and whistles of social shopping. But Web merchants would be wise not to forget the basics or risk frustrating their customers.

According to the “Revolutionizing Website Design” report from digital marketing agency Oneupweb, Web users expect a lot from shopping sites, but their focus is on the fundamentals that facilitate purchasing.

Clearly presented pricing and shipping information, for example, is the most important feature of e-commerce sites, followed by indications of credibility and trustworthiness. Visual appeal and functionality like cost calculators and search were also relatively important. But advanced features such as live chat and social hooks were important to but a small minority of respondents.

US Internet Users' Expectations of E-Commerce Sites, 2010 (% of respondents)

While Facebook “like” buttons may facilitate viral sharing of product pages, online retailers concerned with conversion rates, failed transactions and shopping cart abandonment will have other priorities.

Oneupweb found those problems were relatively big ones for e-commerce sites. Task completion failure rates were higher than on travel sites, business-to-business properties or higher-education Websites.

Website Task Completion Among US Internet Users, by Industry, 2010 (% of respondents)

Further, while e-commerce abandonment rates were relatively low compared to the other categories studied, their failure rates were highest.

iPerceptions found in 2009 that while overall task completion rates on e-commerce sites were high, they dropped significantly when visitors went to the sites specifically to buy. Those just looking to learn about products were better able to accomplish their goals and ended up better satisfied.

Also in 2009, Web performance monitoring firm Gomez reported that just one or two bad experiences could turn online shoppers off forever, making these usability concerns a priority for online retailers.

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Check out today’s other article, “What Makes Up a Social Marketing Strategy?


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