Online shoppers quick to leave retail sites: study

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A recent Internet shopping and browsing survey, commissioned by SLI Systems and conducted by Zoomerang, indicated that US consumers have shorter attention spans than previously believed.

According to the results of the November survey, 73% of respondents said they would leave an e-commerce site within one to two minutes if they could not find what they were looking for. Fifty-four percent said they would only look through two to three pages of search results before giving up. When asked if they would return to a retail Web site that had a poor search function, 36% said they would not.

“We wanted to get some numbers to qualify how important site search is to people,” Shaun Ryan, CEO of SLI Systems said.

More than 500 people from age 18 to 65 responded to the 13-question survey.

Although SLI already had strong anecdotal evidence on the importance of site search, it was surprising to learn how intolerant people were of poor search, Ryan said. Getting relevant results through site search makes a huge difference, he said. “It means people are more likely to find what they're looking for and are more likely to make a purchase.”

SLI, which has offices in Cupertino , CA, London, and Christchurch, New Zealand, powers the search boxes on more than 200 Web sites. The company also helps its clients with search engine optimization.

“When customers use our search page, not only do they get better search, but they get more traffic coming to their site,” said Ryan.

Some e-commerce sites do not realize how important search is and how it can affect sales, particularly during a busy holiday shopping season, Ryan added. “We're using [the survey] to help convince people of the importance of upgrading their site search and to take a hard look at the quality of their existing site search.”

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