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Retailers must work to win back disappointed customers: Intersperience

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Online and multichannel retailers “have a lot of work” to do to win back customers’ trust in online shopping this Christmas, following last year’s delivery problems. So says Paul Hudson, chief executive of consumer research specialists Intersperience, whose new research has found a significant minority of consumers have lost their faith in online shopping.

Some 81% of people who responded to the Intersperience Christmas Shopping Survey 2011 said they planned to buy something online this year, down on the 89% who did so in 2010. That leaves 19% who will spurn the online channel this year, compared to 11% last year.

Some 20% of consumers said they would have spent more online last year – but were frustrated by problems with ordering and delivery. Of the 19% who said they would not buy over the internet this year, 40% of them put their reluctance down to delivery problems. One in six presents ordered online last year failed to turn up on time, the survey of 1,000 people found.

Last year one in 10 received the wrong order, the survey found, and 36% of those who said they would not buy online were concerned about potential mistakes in their order.

“There is a general disappointment with online service that is a hangover from last year and it is affecting people’s plans for Christmas,” said Hudson. “Retailers need to do a lot of work to win back customers’ trust in online shopping.”

The research comes the week after a study by Postcode Anywhere found 9% of the consumers it polled would not buy online because of previous bad experiences with delivery. Last Christmas deliveries were badly affected by heavy snowfalls in the run up to December 25 that led to many online retailers bringing forward their final ordering dates.

Hudson said: “While a lot of people had good experiences of online shopping last year, a large proportion had problems and this has put off a significant minority of shoppers. There is no doubt that internet retailing will show year-on-year growth, as it is coming from a relatively low base, but the more general question is whether online sales are actually falling short of what they should be if service was better.”

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