Buyer-Seller Disconnect Proves Costly

Retailers could be missing out on millions in online sales.

by staff writer
- Jun 10, 2011

Online merchants may be losing millions in sales because of buyer frustrations and a misunderstanding of what buyers want, according to a recent survey.

Retailers could be missing out on as much at 24 percent of their annual online income because of bad customer experiences, according to a study by Tealeaf, a company that makes customer experience management software. It notes that retailers in the U.K. missed out on 1.4 billion pounds last year, alone, because of shopper frustrations. In the U.S., sellers lost $228 million.

"Online consumers are more demanding than ever," says Geoff Galat, Tealeaf's chief marketing officer. "They have little, if any, tolerance for Web site issues, poor site design or longer-than-necessary processes."

A disconnect between buyers and sellers may be contributing to the lost income, according to the study. That's because while 79 percent of the companies surveyed are confident they provide a "good" or "OK" shopper experience, almost as many—78 percent—said they had "limited" understanding or "no idea" why buyers ditched their shopping carts without making a purchase. Meanwhile, only 44 percent of the respondents conduct user testing.

The study also shows that, often, companies don't know about the issues customers face on their sites until "it's too late"—that is, when customers call or e-mail customer support departments. Officials also note that while companies are spending more on operations for things like mobile, almost half of the companies surveyed say they don't have the money to spend to analyze and better understand their customers.

But not doing this could be costly, Galat says, especially with shoppers becoming more social. He adds that frustrated customers could tweet their frustrations and spread the word about a "bad" site, turning off other shoppers.

"As the global economy recovers, the online retailers who provide a positive customer experience will receive a larger share of the growing pie," the study notes.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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