One in four suffers e-shopping failures

The longer consumers spend online, the more likely they are to shop online. But that doesn't mean they'll shop successfully.

The longer consumers spend online, the more likely they are to shop online. But that doesn't mean they'll shop successfully.

8 March 2000 -- According to a new Boston Consulting Group study, 28 percent of all attempts at online commerce fail, for reasons ranging from technical problems to delivery mix-ups.

And, while consumers may be willing to put up with some problems, the mistakes could come back to haunt e-commerce players trying to build their customer base -- 28 percent of shoppers who have problems with a purchase attempt said they would stop shopping online entirely.

Bricks-and-mortar players with shoddy online enterprises could suffer a double-blow -- the survey found that 6 percent of shoppers who ran into a problem online stopped shopping at that e-tailer's offline store as well.

"It's extremely important that clicks-and-mortar retailers recognize that online experience can affect their offline perception," said David Pecaut, senior vice president at BCG.

And while consumers are growing more accustomed to online shopping -- of users who have been online more than three years -- over 60 percent shop online -- they still have concerns. And the top concern for 44 percent of the users tracked by BCG was one that e-commerce players have been fighting for some time -- credit card fraud.

There is hope, however. Of the surveyed consumers, 74 percent said they would be reassured about credit card risk if companies agreed to insure them against credit card loss.

"In many cases the guarantee is already there. The vendor's picking up that guarantee and publicizing it would be a big plus form the point of view of the consumer," Pecaut said.