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WOM drives online retail in UK

Posted on 10th August 2010 in Industry News, Insight
Written by: Fiona Rickard

According to a new report from eCommera which surveyed 2,000 people, Word of mouth is a crucial driver of traffic for e-commerce sites in the UK. 71% of consumers value a personal recommendation from a friend or family member to help them use the right site as opposed to 35% for search engines, 21% for advertising on media such as TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, and 13% for web advertising.
42.6% of respondents shopped on the web on at least a weekly basis and a typical participant spends £71 on goods through this channel per month, with 36% of consumers having increased this in the last year, and a further 45% maintaining their spending. Factors which dissuade them from using a specific ecommerce portal are poor design 42%, lack of information 42% and a complicated interface 32%.
30% were concerned about the security of payment, 26% for products being out of stock and 18% if it was not obvious how to contact the company concerned.

Qualities perceived as the most important for businesses selling online are to offer competitive prices 64.2% followed by reliable delivery at 31%. 51% think the net is highly convenient and 39% believe it provides a wider choice. Having an established high street retail presence generates 46% to visit their online platform.

During the actual purchase process, 63% of the sample conducted research on multiple sites before obtaining products via the internet, while 29% looked for information on the net and bought in-store.
Just over 25% took the opposite route ie assessed the available brands in physical outlets before ordering online.

Over 90% of consumers had completed a single transaction worth more than £50 on the internet, and the study found there is a "strong market for luxury goods" and big-ticket acquisitions. However, social media does not yet have a major role, as only 5.1% of netizens opted for an e-commerce site after reading favourable feedback on Facebook and other platforms. According to eCommera "Price is an obvious benefit of shopping online as it's far easier to shop around for a bargain by visiting multiple retailers' websites or using price comparison sites. Greater choice, a flexible range of delivery options and the convenience of shopping at any time of day and taking delivery without ever having to queue in-store or seek for a parking space, is also critical."

Data sourced from Warc, 10 August 2010