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E-commerce is a growing source of revenue for many companies and businesses, as it continues to capture market-share from brick-and-mortar stores over recent years. However, many businesses are not prepared for this growth of online business because they do not fully understand the market and how to invest in their websites. According to a study conducted by BusinessWeek Research Services, there exists a perception gap between executive opinions and consumer opinions on the online e-commerce experience and how customers primarily react. The opinions of business executives vary from those of their consumers, which can cause issues and friction within their base.

The study shows diverging opinions between executive and consumer opinion:

95 % of executives believe that consumers will experience online problems, while 87% of consumers say they have encountered issues. This shows that executives are at least aware of the various issues faced by their online customers.

• However, executives seem to severely underestimate the impact of these online issues. While 41% of consumers say that they would abandon transactions due to issues and even the company altogether, only 20% of executives believed that customers would actually abandon their current transaction.

• Executives were even more off-base regarding how consumers would share their negative experiences publicly. 13% of executives believed that consumers would provide negative feedback in a public manner, while in actuality, nearly 58% of consumers stated that they would share their negative opinions in some form (e.g. Yelp, recommendations to friends, etc.)

Underestimation of consumer reactions to online issues can severely hurt a company’s growth. Abandoning transactions and negative feedback present a loss of revenue for the company in the short run, while also discouraging future customers and repeat business due to the company’s damaged brand and reputation. By not being aware of the implications resulting from poor performance, you may be driving away customers into the welcoming arms of your competition. Awareness of how consumers react to poor web performance can be a huge first step for many companies to improve their relationships with online customers; prioritizing performance and your online business will help your company generate greater revenues and success.

What steps has your company taken to improve the experience of online consumers? How important do you believe the online experience to be?

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