NetIQ Corp., a leading provider of Systems and Security Management and Web Analytics solutions, at the online retailer forum announced the results of a recent consumer survey of online shopping behavior.The survey results provide merchants with valuable indicators as to why consumers abandon online purchases and underscores the importance of using the Web as a means to driving multichannel profits. The survey was conducted nationally in December via telephone and represented 632 adults, ages 18 and over.

Abandoned shopping carts represent a huge cost to businesses. In the United States alone, the loss due to unfinished online transactions could grow to $63 billion in 2004, resulting in a cumulative loss of more than $173 billion since 1999, according to research firm Datamonitor. In addition, online research firm eMarketer reported in 2003 that 52 percent of shopping carts are abandoned and that this number could be reduced dramatically if retailers were to make relatively minor changes to their online check out processes.

Increasingly, online merchants are in control of the factors that lead consumers to abandon online purchases. The NetIQ Survey showed:

  • Many consumers abandoned online purchases due to additional costs, like shipping and handling, or lengthy delivery times (35 percent). This is followed by complaints about Web sites asking for too much information in order to make the purchase (30 percent).
  • About one in five (17 percent) surveyed say they abandoned online purchases due to lack of product information.
  • 14 percent say they changed their minds and opted to purchase from a brick and mortar, rather than online, store.
  • Site security and "best prices" are the two most important factors driving respondents back to Web sites to make additional purchases (52 percent and 55 percent, respectively).

By implementing WebTrends Web analytics, retailers are finding that they can significantly impact profits by simplifying their online shopping scenarios. Personal Creations, the top personal gifts provider in the United States (, discovered that it was potentially losing sales because consumers weren't able to effectively navigate through the site to find products of interest. Taking advantage of the insight that WebTrends Web analytics provided, the company readjusted its Web site to improve visitor navigation paths, and as a result, their online sales increased 30 percent.
"Surveys like this not only demonstrate the importance of a retailer's Web site to its business, but show that merchants can make a huge difference in online sales by making even incremental changes to their Web sites to improve conversion rates and increase profits," said Geoff Ramsey, CEO and co-founder of eMarketer. "WebTrends Web analytics can help pinpoint the trouble spots on a Web site so that retailers can improve conversions to sales, and ultimately retain more customers and encourage repeat buyers."

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