Are Holiday Dot Com Ads Doomed to Disappoint?

E-commerce companies this holiday season are spending billions in
advertising, attracting millions of potential customers and then driving most
of them away with a bad customer experience, says an Internet strategy
consulting firm.

The firm, Creative Good, predicts that the day
after Thanksgiving — traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year —
will frustrate many online buyers and kick off a disappointing, but much
hyped e-commerce holiday shopping season.


“Even before the holiday egg nog is consumed, we will experience an
industry-wide hangover,” said Phil Terry, CEO of Creative Good. Too many
e-commerce companies are providing “a bad customer experience — confusion,
frustration and, ultimately, no sale,” he said.

In fact, Creative Good estimates that $6 billion of potential revenue will be
left on the holiday table because of poor customer experiences. In essence,
companies are spending more money to convert fewer customers.

“This gap will create cash flow problems for startups and large companies
alike. This is why Levi’s pulled the plug on its Web efforts. This is the
hangover that could push consumers right back to brick and mortar retailers,”
said Mark Hurst, Creative Good president and founder.

What is causing many of these sites to fail? Poor navigation, confusing
search features and inefficient check out processes, among other factors, the
company said. Principally, however, it is a general lack of focus on the
customer experience.

Creative Good examines these issues in its Holiday ’99 E-commerce report
which is free for the download.

Creative Good clients include Gateway, Macys.com, Travelocity and Flooz.com.
Research customers include Microsoft, Amazon and America Online.

Creative Good also publishes both the ZDNet e-commerce
best practices Web site
and the customer experience site, GoodExperience.com.

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