As featured in Mashable, January 20, 2014
The online retail game is not an easy one to win, but new research and analysis might help cast a light on the glaring problems causing your site to lose sales and customers.
Collecting user feedback and complaints from 400 websites over three years, Qubit has narrowed its findings to 10 main problem areas. The results paint a picture of a consumer with much higher expectations for retail websites and their user-friendliness.
Based on Qubit’s research, here are the top 10 complaints that online shoppers have about their retail sites of choice.
Price has been the top online shopper complaint between 2011 and 2013, and it’s maintaining its spot. Qubit’s research shows that consumers’ biggest gripes about on-site pricing fall into either the “too high for a given product” or the “too high for me” category.
According to Nomis Solutions, consumers are 7.4 times more sensitive to price online than in-store, so it’s imperative that your site’s prices are competitive with the rest of your market and can offer something others cannot.
2. Product Range
Customers are taking their shopping online for many reasons — one of the biggest being the expansion product availability. Online shoppers want an easier experience discovering items than what they have in-store, and your site should reflect that desire.
Qubit suggests improving your site’s product range by investing in site resources such as recommendation engines, dedicated lists for new and seasonal products, and “related item” groupings.
Many retail sites still don’t have reliable or helpful sizing charts for their customers. Online returns are frustrating, and creating even a basic measurement guide can drastically reduce the amount of complaints you’ll get from peeved shoppers.
4. Site Functionality
According to Qubit, if Amazon’s checkout button was down for one hour, it could lose $2 millionin potential sales. Basically, it boils down to this: If you have a feature on your site, make sure it works.
Best practices for maintaining customer relationships in the event of a site issue include being transparent when there are problems and providing an entertaining error message, such as Uniqlo’s pictured below.
Considering how impatient and trigger-happy the average online shopper is, it’s clear that site speed is a growing area for complaints. This quick-to-click mentality will only increase in the future, so it’s imperative that your site fix any and all latency issues now.
6. Site Search
Nothing makes an angrier customer quite like a search bar that doesn’t work at Google-like proficiency. To quell the rage, Qubit suggests improving and expanding your site’s tagging system and adding advanced search features.
7. Stock Availability
Another recurring user complaint involves stock availability. Though this complaint has decreased since Qubit’s last study, it could still pose a problem for your site, as customers expect a greater selection and variety when it comes to online retail stock.
According to Quibit, consumers frequently complain when items that are no longer in stock or discontinued are still displayed on the site.
If your site isn’t clearly labeled and easy to navigate, customers will leave. Make sure your popular items and sales are highlighted and your various pages are easy to find and navigate.
One recurring complaint that Qubit has discovered is difficult-to-find discount code boxes. If you’re going to offer sales and coupon codes, don’t make them impossible to use, as it’ll lead to shoppers leaving.
Many retail sites have begun implementing time limits on product purchases, which make the consumer less price-sensitive.
If you’re site isn’t pretty, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Eye-tracking studies show that web users scan first, then read. This means that product images are more important than ever.
According to Qubit, consumers prefer to see multiple images before making a purchase, and want to see clothing on models rather than simply laid out. Adding video content and multiple images can go a long way in getting a customer to make a purchase.