Survey: Online Retailers Need to Add More Pizzazz to Their Web Sites

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A national survey of consumers last month indicated they would spend more online if retailers added more interactive and interesting ways to display and purchase products.

Cambridge, MA-based Allurent Inc. surveyed 803 consumers looking for insight into consumers' attitudes about their online shopping experiences and what they would like to see retailers do to improve the customer experience. The results are published in The Online Merchandising Survey.

An overwhelming 83 percent of consumers surveyed said they would buy more online if retailers added more interactivity to their Web sites as this would allow them to feel more comfortable and confident in their purchases.

When asked which features would help them better make purchasing decisions, online shoppers cited several Web 2.0 features: 86 percent cited "shortcuts," or being able to get product details and images without having to leave the page they are viewing; 76 percent cited 360 degree product views; 74 percent cited customize product; 73 percent cited customer-generated product reviews and 71 percent cited product zoom.

Also, 65 percent of the respondents cited the ability to change the color of the product they are viewing by clicking on available color swatches; 63 percent cited the ability to compare similar products; 50 percent cited being able to click anywhere on an image to purchase the viewed item or get more information and 44 percent cited being able to view a belt, shoes and handbag next to each other on one screen to see how they look together.

The survey also found that only 36 percent of online shoppers prefer shopping online versus in a physical store. The No. 1 reason cited by 71 percent of respondents for preferring to shop in a physical store versus online is that the former allows consumers to better understand the products they are purchasing. Convenience was the No. 1 reason consumers preferred to shop online.

The survey also uncovered an opportunity for retailers to turn browsers into buyers as 68 percent of consumers reported browsing online stores more now than in the past.

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