E-tailers missing megabucks

Joy Macknight Online consumers are "ideal customers", yet e-tailers are missing out on more than $6.1 billion in lost sales said...

Joy Macknight Online consumers are "ideal customers", yet e-tailers are missing out on more than $6.1 billion in lost sales said a new survey by consultants AT Kearney. The lost sales represent 13% of total worldwide revenue, said the report.

In surveying the purchasing behaviour of more than 1,200 experienced Internet consumers across three continents, it was found that online shoppers want to establish deep relationships with e-tailers, making repeat purchases at one in three sites, and become loyal to their chosen sites.

Thirty per cent of consumers will buy anything online, including cars and luxury goods. Yet many e-retailers are skimping on the investment in basic Web design and usability that allows the consumer to do what they want online.

The report says:

  • Consumers cannot access the Internet the way they want. Demand for alternative ways to access the Internet, for example digital TV, is explosive, yet very few online retailers are developing plans to offer access through anything but PCs.

  • Online retailers could increase their revenues by more than $2.2 billion if they facilitated access to their Web site by alternative means.

  • Consumer spending is blocked by poor Web site design. Four out of five consumers try to purchase but give up. Abandoned purchase attempts are costing e-retailers up to $3.8 billion in lost revenue.

  • One third of consumers' online transactions are "impure" - consumers resort to a phone call to complete the transaction. Most customers become so frustrated they never return.

  • "Impure" and blocked online transactions are preventable and lead to higher downstream costs and lost sales. E-retailers need to make greater and more effective investments in Web design and functionality.

    This research in purchasing behaviour among experienced online consumers was conducted in six of the most developed online markets: US, UK, Sweden, Germany, France, and Japan, representing 89% of the worldwide market in online sales.

    To sell online...

  • Provide multiple access points to sell online

  • Invest in upfront design and user testing

  • Don't "get" customers, attract and cultivate them

  • Embrace multi-channel marketing

    Source:AT Kearney

    Trade secrets

    Know your customers:

  • "Buy-anything" consumers are very experienced Internet users and spend 10% more than other shoppers

  • E-shopping behaviour differs by country: Japanese and British shoppers are very adventurous online shoppers, while French shoppers are more conservative

  • Chat rooms are now being penetrated for sales leads


  • Read more on IT legislation and regulation