The majority (57%) of online shoppers in the UK prefer to shop from a handful of their favourite websites rather than shopping around for the best price, according to research from e-commerce and digital marketing solutions provider EPiServer.
The report, which surveyed 1,000 UK consumers, also revealed that over a third have increased the amount of online shopping they do in the last year, and almost half (44%) have made purchases using a mobile device in the last six months. This is compared to 94% of UK consumers that have shopped on the high street during the same timeframe. It's therefore vital for retailers to offer the best possible experience, on every device, to capitalise on the hard-earned loyalty this Christmas.
The research suggests that clothes and shoes are the most frequent online purchases (46%), closely followed by CDs/DVDs/video games (45%), and books/stationery (37%).
David Bowen, Product Manager, EPiServer, commented, "The digital high street continues to boom, but our research goes to show that the ease of online shopping has not killed brand loyalty and a positive customer experience is still more important to UK shoppers than price. Retailers shouldn't just be trying to compete on price; instead they ought to concentrate on delivering the best possible online experience to keep customers spending. Unfortunately our report also showed that many online retailers are actually still letting customers down in many areas, and they will be missing out on market share as a result."
EPiServer's research also found that consumers are increasingly vocal online. One third (33%) of online shoppers have contacted a retailer through social media at least once in the last six months with a problem, query or complaint. Similarly, 35% have published or commented on a recent online purchase on social media.
Bowen added, "The rise of social media brings both challenges and opportunities for retailers; many businesses remain hesitant to engage with social media but, the fact is, consumers are using it regardless. There is nowhere to hide online, so a great customer experience is championed widely whilst poor service can spread like wildfire."
The full EPiServer report, entitled Benchmarking the Digital High Street: UK Ecommerce Performance Index 2012 is available for free download from www.episerver.com/ecommerce2012 and includes practical advice and real-world examples to highlight simple measures where retailers could improve the user experience.