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Survey reveals slow shopping websites affect visitor buying habits

Published on November 30, 2012
Tags: Usability, Web Development London

A recent survey by Monitis, a cloud and web app monitoring company found that many online shopping websites are not fast enough with new data providing warnings that many consumers have cancelled their orders due to slow response times.

Findings from 1006 online shoppers who were polled by Opinion Matters on behalf of Monitis, found that 56% of those taking part, when quizzed about website response times, spent more than two hours a week shopping online and admitted they had cancelled an order if the response times were slow.

74% of respondents also believed they would switch to a competing online shopping site if they felt they could have a better user experience and the website was a lot faster than the one they were currently using.

Other important findings from the survey found that in 81% of respondents, the number one reason for choosing to shop online was to make purchases instead of shopping at stores in the high street.

61% also found that price was the most important consideration when it came to choosing what to buy online. Meanwhile 61% of online shoppers might leave a web page and search for a competitor whose site doesn’t take longer than 30 seconds to load.

What does this mean for online shopping during peak season?

With the festive season approaching, online retailers (vendors) will need to ensure that their websites are providing shoppers with an efficient user experience which is efficient, but the onus is on the web developers and designers to avoid downtime as the holiday rush approaches. This is particularly important as for online stores, their success is solely focused on the minimum threshold of their uptime; so for every moment their website is down, they lose sales.

One of the ways in which an online vendor can ensure they make good sales is to have sufficient developers working on the system for maintenance in case the website goes down. Another option is to ensure the website is easy to access and highly usable, as 56% of respondents to the Monitis survey indicated that when comparing one retail site and why they went to another instead to do their shopping, website usability is an incredibly important factor, second only to price and reputation.

Online vendors should also have a good idea of the best time to shop online and according to the survey, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is the most popular according to 40% of all respondents, while 32% preferred to do their online shopping in the early evening, between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

All of these factors are things which a website vendor should take into account when thinking about how their visitors use the site during peak times, when demand for online shopping is high. Sub-optimal performance and a poor customer experience can result in transaction losses, so businesses need to learn how to optimise their website and strengthen their online stores for such occasions.

By Chelsey Evans

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