Retailers Lose Billions From Bad Online Stores

abandoned shopping cart

A new study by Harris Interactive and Tealeaf found that major retailers have lost billions of dollars in potential sales –  over $44 billion, to be exact – by having online stores that are difficult for customers to navigate and, most importantly, make purchases with.

The survey was made up of 2,104 adults in the U.S. over the age of 18 — 1,484 of which had actually purchased a retail item online.

According to Fast Company, the research revealed that 66% of the respondents had attempted an online purchase this year, but 33% had abandoned their e-carts rather than keep tr. Only 18% keep trying to buy something. The issues they had ranged from server problems to pages loading poorly to unclear page layout — the lack of a clear “purchase” button, for example.

Research like this, as well as common knowledge that a poorly-designed Web site will lose you potential sales, has inspired online juggernauts like Amazon and Apple to devote time and money to making their online stores and online customer service the best in the industry. “Apple has simplified the process and made every part of the user experience as elegant it can be. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says he is ‘relentlessly focused’ on customer experience,” said Geoff Galat, Tealeaf’s VP of global marketing. And concentrating on customer service has certainly paid off for Apple, given that they generated $15.7 billion in overall sales this year.

Meanwhile, Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer and the gold standard for e-commerce, makes sure that any issues — like missing shipments or flawed merchandise — are easily resolved thanks to quality controls like customer rating features. In addition, any merchant that receives even a tiny number of negative ratings on orders is blocked from selling on Amazon in the future. All of which is part of the reason why the company generated revenue of $24.5 billion in 2009.