Poor websites mean poor sales – study

Nearly half of British consumers have cancelled plans to spend with a small business after finding a poor-quality website, new research by web hosting firm 1&1 Internet shows.

In a study of more than 1,800 UK adults, 37 per cent have walked away completely whilst a further nine per cent have opted to spend less as a direct result.

Many consumers feel that small business websites are mostly unattractive and often contain errors. While one in three consumers are willing to provide feedback to business owners, most entrepreneurs don’t ask their clients about their experiences on their company’s website.

“Keeping an ugly or badly-functioning website online can comprise a risk to sales revenue,” explains Oliver Mauss, CEO of 1&1 Internet.

“Consumers have higher-than-ever expectations, and it’s essential that every company website inspires confidence. Businesses that invest carefully in their web experience will see higher levels of customer spend, retention and referral.”

The good news is that most UK businesses have a website now, and actively battle for visibility online.

However, 1&1’s 2011 Digital High Street Audit finds worryingly low levels of consumer satisfaction with the small business websites available to them.

The main complaint is that SME websites look “tired” and are “unimpressive”, and 41 per cent frequently find errors such as typos and broken URLs.

Online spending looks to stay strong, however, with two-thirds of consumers planning to maintain their levels of online spending from 2010, and 22 per cent foreseeing an increase in the number of purchases they will make online.

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