Hidden Web Site Errors Costing E-tailers Big Money

Web site errors are driving off customers and losing companies big money, according to a new study.

The majority of the Internet’s biggest retailers are suffering from undetected Web site problems that are costing them an average of $275 in sales per shopper. That’s the results of a recent study done by the Business Internet Group of San Francisco, a networking and research organized focused on e-business.

”It continues to amaze me that although the Internet has clearly come of age as a sales channel, we continue to find revenue-draining Web failures on the very retail sites that are considered the Internet’s most celebrated success stories,” says Diane Smith, an analyst with the Business Internet Group. ”We are all so busy patting ourselves on the back for the achievement of 100 percent uptime we are missing a critical truth. Without the ability to see what sites are delivering to the real end user, 24/7 uptime is a worthless metric.”

The study found that 62 percent of the online sites monitored experienced some sort of error during the user’s shopping experience, interfering with or preventing the completion of the purchase process. Of the Web application errors noted, the Group reports that none were detectable by traditional performance or availability monitoring solutions.

The average user spent seven minutes on a site with errors.

The Group’s report notes that analysts found instances where a customer was unable to buy a product after conducting a product comparison. Other common failures noted were blank pages, wrong pages, and wrong items being presented.

”With entire conferences devoted to analyzing consumer behavior in order to solve the issue of abandoned shopping carts, it is ironic that the answer is often as simple and obvious as a glitch in an online application,” says Smith. ”What most Internet retailers don’t realize is that customers are visiting their online storefronts only to find the lights on but nobody at the cash register.”

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