Survey: Many NZ shoppers find it easier to buy offline

A new survey reports 45 percent of Australasian respondents have abandoned an online purchase due to difficulties, while 29 percent have given up on online shopping altogether, preferring to go to bricks and mortar stores.

The survey, conducted by Australian consumer insights firm Pureprofile, was commissioned by Rackspace, a managed Cloud computing company.

The reasons local shoppers were unhappy with their online experience? Chief amongst them was the volume of pop-up ads (a frustration for 42 percent of them); while poor online service was a concern for 34 percent of those surveyed.

Some 57 percent of respondents wanted a simpler checkout service, while 37 percent felt that online shopping should be easier and more intuitive. For 42 percent, finding and selecting what they wanted was an issue, many of them frustrated that websites only offered one search filter option.

So why bother shopping online at all? Convenience was given as the most popular reason for shopping online (by 83 percent of respondents). However, 44 percent thought traditional retail shopping was quicker when you know what you are looking for, with 28 percent frustrated at the time needed online to narrow down their selection. And yet, more than a third (36 percent) said they had chosen an item in a store but instead gone online to buy it at a cheaper price.

Over 40 percent of local online shoppers think that buying offline is quicker when you know what you want.

Over 40 percent of local online shoppers think that buying offline is quicker when you know what you want.

Why should you care?

Yes, you can call us cynical (… thank you, I heard that) but we’re wary of self-serving surveys where, due to a small sample size, the views of the few are purported to be those of the many.

This survey was based on responses from just 758 Australians and 255 New Zealanders – 0.004 percent of Internet users in Australia and 0.006 percent in New Zealand. That, in our humble opinion, is a long way short of a statistically valid sample size.

That said, who hasn’t had a frustrating experience when trying to buy something on a local website? We all know of sites here and in Australia where the on-site search engine returns a zillion irrelevant results or none at all, and where even when you know what you want you can’t filter the 30 pages of results by size, colour, price or brand. Used to the seamless experience of shopping on some overseas sites, we give up, try another site or head to the shopping mall.

Retailers interested in improving the online shopping experience for their customers need only review their website analytics to see where improvements are needed. Online surveys are now inexpensive and easy to set up, making it easy to poll visitors and get their input.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer & Mark Sceats

Jeremy and Mark are two of the partners behind SureFire Search. Despite their deceptively youthful appearances, both have worked in search marketing for many years. To put that in context, Google didn't even exist when Jeremy started.