Retailers are losing online sales due to unhelpful websites, research claims

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Almost half of consumers would be more persuaded to make expensive purchases online if websites were more helpful and contained better in-depth product information, according to new research.

The survey of 1,000 shoppers, conducted by e-commerce agency PushON, found that 49% of people would be more inclined to spend larger amounts online if websites included features and tools that could be used to gather as much information on products as possible before they buy.

The majority of consumers agree that visual tools and features online are valuable to help make informed decisions about considered purchases. 26% of consumers think that the quality of product photography is extremely important, giving this feature an importance rating of 10 out of 10. 22% would like to see better ‘images of the product in-situ’, giving this a score of eight out of 10 for importance, as did 17% for ‘3D product representation’.

Alongside tools that provide better product information, shoppers are also urging retailers to implement features on their websites that streamline the online buying process. Over half (52%) think retailers should invest in technology that enables a better omnichannel experience to make the shopping journey less disjointed between in store and online. 16% believe the checking-out process is too long-winded, and would like to use mobile payments more to make buying online quicker and easier.

PushON managing director Sam Rutley said: “Parting with large sums of cash is a huge decision for consumers – so it can be quite frustrating when websites aren’t fit for purpose and don’t provide shoppers with the information they need to make an informed decision. In store, customers can see products in real life and can ask customer assistants for help if they have queries. But, accessing this information online is not quite as easy, with sites often failing to include in-depth descriptions or accurate photos of items.

“Retailers need to be investing in their websites to ensure they can offer the same level of service and information shoppers would get in store – perhaps by updating sites to include interactive 3D images of products or representations of how they will look in situ. This will go a long way towards increasing consumer buying confidence as customers will be able to get a real feel for what the product actually looks like in real life, meaning they’ll feel comfortable spending more online.”

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