A little over a month ago I presented the question "Is Your Site Ready For The Holiday Rush?". I focused in on how impatient visitors to your retail site can be. The most time you have to make the first impression is 4 seconds, you either hook them or loose them in that amount of time.
I read another interesting press release from Gomez, Inc. Gomez, if you didn't know, is a company that tracks performance issues with sites. A few times a year, they will issue a press release about how the Internet Retailer Top 500 are doing performance wise. When you match that up against some of the survey results that Gomez does, it shows that some of the top 500 have a long way to go - usability & performance wise.
This latest survey featured in the press release shows that over 90% of visitors to a website will give up and never return after 3 unsuccessful tries at a retail website. It doesn't matter what kind of savings the site offers, nor the brand loyalty. If the site doesn't work - forget it, you lost the customer.
Not only have you lost that online customer because of bad website performance, but you could stand to loose other potential customers too, both online and offline. Those 9 out of 10 visitors that just give up, do you know what they do? They tell their friends about their bad experience (some even blog about it!). The study found that 47% of those who had a bad online experience at an online retail store would in turn tell 5 other people about it. That's not the kind of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) retailers are looking for.
Furthermore, the study also found that 30% of all purchases made in brick and mortar stores are researched online first. 67% of those surveyed said if they had a bad experience during that research period, it would affect their decision to go to the brick and mortar store.
Although it's a little late in the holiday season, all retailers and marketers should be looking at the usability and functionality of their sites. Go to an entirely different computer, heck, go to your Grandparents' computer with a dial up connection and try out your retail site. If you encounter problems there, just think about how many other customers you are loosing each and every day.