SMALL BUSINESS

Are You Driving Customers Away? Survey Says

02/03/2012 06:20 pm ET

Are you turning customers off? Are you driving them away from shopping at your retail store or e-commerce site? In a study by MarketTools, 29 percent of respondents say "a bad shopping experience" has caused them to stop shopping at a retail store, and 25 percent say the same about online retail sites.

At brick-and-mortar stores, the biggest turnoff is unhelpful/unfriendly sales personnel (71 percent), followed by long lines or long wait time (41 percent) and poor merchandise quality (39 percent). At websites, merchandise quality took center stage, with 46 percent citing poor quality or damaged merchandise as a reason they've stopped shopping with a site. Also big turnoffs: high shipping costs (cited by 43 percent) and shipping problems (cited by 37 percent). Problems with support or lack of assistance were cited by just 28 percent.

Why it matters to your business: While quality of merchandise should be a given at your retail establishment, whether online or off, I found it interesting how much more important assistance was deemed in a physical store. The lesson for your business? If you've got a brick-and-mortar store, focus on hiring the best, friendliest salespeople you can find. If you're selling online, put your biggest effort into the shipping experience. Whether online or off, customers want what they want, when they want it -- and that's always now.

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