Big, Ugly Obstacle Holds Back Online Growth
It’s kind of hard to find fault when you look at the year-to-year upward sales arc that has been ongoing in the world of e-commerce. But, that is exactly what Sucharita Mulpuru, senior analyst for retail with Forrester Research, has done in the report: The Big, Ugly Obstacle Holding Back E-Commerce.
According to the study, consumers found quite a few aspects of the online shopping experience to be less than satisfying.
Nearly one-in-three reported having one or more problems, including shipping delays, the number one complaint, followed by backordering/out-of-stocks, sites that were slow or froze, tracking issues, confusing product depictions online, poor customer service and other factors.
“The problem is with where retailers are focusing their attention and spending online,” Ms. Mulpuru told destinationCRM.com. “So much is spent on marketing and merchandising the site, but there’s a huge gap in the area of website operations. I don’t know of any other place where 30 percent of customers or more report problems and it’s a good thing.”
Even the best of companies run into issues, according to the report, and “the best way to cope is to acknowledge that they happen and create an action plan to quickly identify future problems and resolve them.”
Forrester offered steps online merchants could take to more quickly improve the customer experience. These include measuring performance using a wide variety of metrics; sharing benchmarks across business functions; recognizing what aspects of the business are good enough and focus on those that are not; and concentrating on fulfillment and shipping.
Ultimately, companies that excel have been improving the customer experience as the raison d’etre of the entire organization.
“Companies like Netflix and Amazon are religious about it,” Ms. Mulpuru said. “They have such good customer service that their reputations for it have driven their success.”
Discussion Questions: Where do you see the biggest issues with the online shopping experience? What strategic and/or tactical solutions would you recommend to e-tailers?