Loot.com Survey Reveals that Over 25% of Online Shoppers Unhappy with Service
A survey of over 7,000 online shoppers conducted by Loot.com, the online classified site (http://www.loot.com ), shows that over a quarter have been dissatisfied with an online purchase they’ve made in the previous six months. The growth of the web as a retail forum has been explosive in recent years but customer dissatisfaction has increased in line with this growth, fuelling discussion about retailers’ efforts to address the customer experience with their online offerings. This most recent survey backs finding in a recent report by the European Consumer Centre (ECC) identifying that complaints about internet sales had increased by 74% in 2005.
The survey (http://www.loot.com/rs6/homepage.asp?action=q&t=/general/about_loot/comps/win_years_rent&atp=www ) identifies traditional faults with the retail sector such as late or non-delivery of items and faulty or damaged goods, but the absence of customer experience and, specifically, having a clear course of redress when shopping online appears to be a larger and more crucial fault. Many online shoppers polled in the survey cite the difficulty in identifying a channel for communicating with the retailer on receipt of unsatisfactory products as the number one issue of complaint with online retailers. The anticipated hassle involved in returning a product led to customers not bothering to seek redress at all.
Loot.com, whose format ensures that local vendors and buyers meet and can have a direct course of redress, feature thousands of classified ads for products and services as wide ranging as property (http://www.loot.com/property ) and electrical goods (http://www.loot.com/electrical ). The face-to-face contact and interaction that is missing from most online retailers is inherent within the Loot.com business model, offering customers a direct channel for communication with the vendor and bypassing the traditional issues with online retail identified in the survey.
The surveys identify a failing on the part of online retailers to reciprocate the customer experience that is a fundamental feature of offline retailing. The absence of direct communication between the user and the retailer that characterises online shopping obscures the ‘point of contact’ on the part of the user making redress in the case of dissatisfaction unclear.
A spokesperson for Loot.com said ‘the prominence of the internet as a medium for retail has led to a decrease in the personal contact when shopping online. Unfortunately this can be a real problem when something goes wrong with the sale. The web can be used to buy and sell all sorts of items, whilst also maintaining a degree of personalisation and interaction with the customer. Loot’s business model shows that - and our customers generally feel more comfortable in dealing directly with a vendor as they feel that they have a direct contact for the transaction process’.
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