E-commerce: Are You Meeting Online Customers’ Expectations?
Consumers lowered their ratings on retailers’ online shopping and browsing attributes, according to a new survey from Decision Direct Research. The Online Multichannel Survey of more than 50,000 consumers of 35 multichannel merchants found that retailers’ ratings decreased when compared to both last quarter and the same quarter last year.
Consumers said the following attributes are important to them: e-mail order verification, ability to view an item online in a selected color and ability to zoom to enlarge product features. Yet, only 63 percent, 44 percent and 44 percent, respectively, gave “excellent” ratings to retailers on those attributes.
Additionally, only 50 percent of respondents gave a rating of excellent to retailers on the attribute “item received matched online description.” And only 40 percent to 45 percent gave excellent ratings on features such as accurate online product descriptions, inventory status availability, products shown clearly online, and ability to quickly find desired items.
Lilliane LeBel, vice president of Decision Direct Research, a division of Millard Group, notes that consumers have come to expect the same ease of shopping, product search capability, level of detail and online confirmations provided by online behemoths such as Amazon, eBay and Overstock.com.
“To the average consumer there is no reason why, if Amazon can provide details on products to help them make their selections and insure their expectations are met, all online retailers cannot do the same,” says LeBel. “Receiving a ‘good’ score isn’t enough anymore. Multichannel retailers must strive to receive ‘excellent’ ratings, or they risk losing their customers to other available retail sources.”
However, multichannel retailers appear to be improving in some areas. For example, 46 percent of respondents gave “excellent” ratings to retailers for making it easier to return items, up from 42 percent in January 2004. And 31 percent praised retailers for offering reasonable shipping and handling charges, up from 26 percent in January 2004.