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Online retailers have made a lot of progress in the past year, increasing conversions, sales and customer satisfaction rates in the 2009 holiday season. But that doesn't mean that consumers are happy with the online shoping experience. According to a survey from performance monitoring company Gomez, 1/3 of consumers had a poor online shopping experience during the 2009 holiday shopping season.

More problematic for retailers is the fact that consumers couldn't care less about the increased pressures that retailers are under during these times. Of those surveyed, 88% of consumers who have a bad experience on a website during peak hours may never come back.

According to the Gomez survey, which surveyed 1,538 people, a majority of consumers spend a significant amount of their budget during peak times (51%). Gomez classified peak periods seasonally, including the holiday season, Valentine's Day, and back to school.

And considering that consmers are spending so much of their money during "peak hours," they have little sympathy for what retailers have to deal with when delivering their services. That means 67% expect websites to work well regardless of how many people are using it.

But that's not what they're experiencing. 72% experienced slower websites more frequently during peak times. And though slow websites appear to be a pretty common occurence, consumers aren't willing to silently accept it.

Of those who have dealt with poor performance on an e-commerce site, 88% are less likely to come back. 78%
after experiening poor performance during peak traffic hours. 47% leave with a negative impression of the company and 42% go so far as to discuss it with friends.

The most common problems were slow pages (72%), errors on web pages (58%) and problems finishing transactions (51%).

Shoppers who are spending high percentages of their shopping budget during busy shopping periods are increasingly impatient about ease of use of issues. Gomez suggests a few options for handling website performance during busy periods, namely testing for scalability, response time and reliability as well as giving consumers a venue for reactions. But whatever the means, it's clear that in 2010, consumers expect the online shopping experience to be non-brutish and short. Getting there might take some extra work, but when people are trying to give you money, you should be doing everything you can to make it as easy as possible.

Image: Gomez

Meghan Keane

Published 24 February, 2010 by Meghan Keane

Based in New York, Meghan Keane is US Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter: @keanesian.

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Comments (6)

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playa del Carmen hotels

From the above information the owner should take certain action regarding consumer satisfication. If this problem is not solved quickly, I think the day will come customer will be back to store rather then purchasing online. In this growing e-commerce this shouldn't happen. The information is really good and valueable for each and every seller.

almost 7 years ago



site optimization is obviously a huge deal if you're an ecommerce outlets.  as a shopper, you should always be looking for 'quality seals' or merchant certifications on retail websites that generally indicate a smooth operation.  i know Sortprice.com, for example, runs a certified merchant program that identifies retailers who have the best service. 

almost 7 years ago



Strangely this page took over 60s to download/render when clicked on from the main blog listing.  Another blog page, clicked afterwards, appeared first.  This isn't the usual eConsultancy.com experience, but it does demonstrate the problem.

That feels like server or network availability issues rather than site optimisation problems.

almost 7 years ago

Meghan Keane

Meghan Keane, US Editor at Econsultancy

Clerkendweller, Yes, we too are subject to these issues. We've been working hard to move our site data into the cloud to eliminate the problem. It's a challenge that all sites face when they grow, but as this data shows, one few consumers are sympathetic about.

almost 7 years ago


Kobi Korsah

Nice approach to a highly topical subject. With online retail projections in Europre indicating astronomical growth (323Bn. Euros by 2011) web stess is a big and growing problem for retailers everywhwere. A unique neurological experiment examining the reactions and behaviour of consumers as they encounter, interact with and are stressed by poorly performing websites proves this http://www.ca.com/gb/content/campaign.aspx?cid=229165. We discovered that online shoppers require 50% more concentration if the online buying experience is poor, and that the checkout process is particularly stressful for most shoppers. To help minimise cart abandonment and assure more optimal customer experiences we would advise online retailers to check, review and optimise the end to end performance and availability of their customer facing applications:

1. PREVENT performance problems with predictive & proactive customer experience monitoring
2. Couple actionable alerts with 100% visibility of transactions as they traverse the application infrastructure
3. Prioritize any incident remediation based on a clear understanding of business impact and root-cause

almost 7 years ago


Boothe Media

It is interesting to see stats associated with this despite how obvious the results might be. There are many factors that can make a website slow. Many causes can include unoptimized images and/or not caching, slow database queries, low quality servers, or interruption of internet service. Obviously you can't prevent every possible situation, but you can take a proactive stance to improve your websites performance.

over 6 years ago

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