An overwhelming majority (89%) of shoppers say they purposely stay away from small online retailers with negative customer reviews on the web, according to a survey from 1&1 Internet, conducted by MaCorr Research.
Overall, consumers in general feel comfortable using small ‘e-tailers.”? Among those consumers who had made purchases online, 96% say they had a positive experience with a small online retailer.
However, the online reputation of such merchants is still paramount and consumers put a great deal of stock in reviews from other shoppers, the study found. Some 91% of shoppers admit to searching the internet for online reviews and blog posts relating to small e-tailers’ reputations before ordering from them, and three in four consumers say they purposely buy elsewhere after reading negative web reviews of an e-tailer.
Shoppers Read and Write Online Reviews
The most popular method of sharing online shopping experiences is word-of-mouth, with more than three-quarters of consumers regularly sharing online shopping experiences with friends and family, the survey found.
However, today’s consumers are also eager to share their online shopping experiences with strangers on the internet, with nearly two-thirds (77%) saying that, given the opportunity, they would be willing to publish an online review/opinion of an e-tailer.
In contrast, only 24% would consider writing a letter to the retailer in question.
“Consumers have clearly learned to do their homework before buying online. It is significant that the average online shopper will now invest time in appraising a retailer’s online reputation as an integral part of their buying decision,” said Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet Inc. “At a time of online advertising-overload, consumers clearly see great value in sharing their knowledge. This is perhaps contributing to their growing confidence to experiment with smaller online retailers.”
Online Security Remains Top Concern for Small Retailers
Though 7 out of 10 consumers are confident that they receive the same standard of service online as they do from similarly sized ‘over-the-counter’ retailers, their biggest concern regarding online retail purchases from smaller operations remains the security of the internet transaction. Nearly half (49%) of online shoppers are concerned about security, with another 34% concerned on the speed of delivery.
About the study: MaCorr research interviewed 1,071 North American adults via electronic feedback form in November 2008.