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econsultancy-customer-behavior-attitudes-june2012.pngMany executives working at companies with e-commerce or e-business components have only a limited understanding of why people abandon the shopping cart or transaction, according to [download page] a survey released in June 2012 by Econsultancy in association with Tealeaf. As a result, all the respondents say that understanding why people do this is either very (83%) or quite (17%) valuable information, although the vast majority (85%) have difficulty collecting it. Similarly, while almost all respondents place some value on understanding why visitors leave the site without converting, and what types of content make people more likely to convert, more than three-quarters say it is at least quite difficult to gather this type of information.

According to a comScore and UPS survey released in June, among respondents that had abandoned their shopping cart, one of the top reasons for doing so was that shipping costs made the total purchase cost more than expected, with 55% saying this led them to abandon their purchase. 40% also abandoned a purchase based on shipping and handling costs being listed too late.

Customer Experience Understanding Gets Better

Despite their struggles to understand customer behavior, respondents appear to be feeling better about their ability to understand the overall online customer experience. This year, 45% said their understanding was either good (41%) or excellent (4%), up from 40% last year. Concurrently, the proportion saying their understanding is poor dropped from 16% to 12%.

Interestingly, while web analytics remains the most common way to understand the online customer experience (by 91% of respondents), just 63% of respondents rated web analytics either very (8%) or quite (55%) effective in this regard. By contrast, while only 42% are using offline focus groups and customer interviews, 81% said this is a very (24%) or quite (57%) effective way to understand the customer experience.

Skilled Analysts Hard to Come By

Data from Econsultancy’s “Reducing the Customer Struggle” indicates that the most common barrier to understanding the online customer experience is a lack of skilled analysts, cited by 48% of respondents, up from 42% last year. Last year, an insufficient budget (46%) was the top barrier, though that dropped to 39% of respondents in this year’s survey.

Other Findings:

  • Customer emails and calls to the customer service team (both at 78%) are the chief ways in which respondents discover problems or issues with the online experience. Customer emails are seen as at least quite effective for identifying problems by slightly more respondents than calls to the customer service team (93% vs. 88%).
  • The issue that most respondents believe customers encounter on their websites is bad navigation and poor “findability,” cited by 63%. This is also the most serious issue to 55% of the respondents.
  • 39% of the respondents have at least a vague idea of how to quantify the amount of online revenue lost through site abandonment due to poor online user experience. This is up from 33% last year.
  • About three-quarters of the respondents regularly evaluate the customer experience or customer satisfaction.

About the Data: The Reducing Customer Struggle report is based on an international online survey of almost 500 business professionals working for companies involved in e-commerce and e-business. The survey was live during March and April 2012. A total of 477 respondents who are employees at an e-commerce or e-business company took part in the survey. The best represented countries were the UK (57%) and the US (21%).

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