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Websites Brace for Holiday Shoppers

The holiday shoppers are coming, and the retailers whose websites aren't ready to meet the demand could see that traffic going elsewhere, according to two recent studies.

New studies from Gomez and JupiterResearch have discovered that while most shoppers plan to do the majority of their shopping online, those customers are experiencing problems and outages on many retailers' websites, InternetRetailer reports. A just-completed Gomez study finds that nine out of ten online consumers plan to do the majority of their shopping online - but almost half report experiencing problems browsing on websites and during the purchase process. And a Jupiter report finds that web customers will not wait for more than four seconds for a site to load before they move on.

"The correlation between an unsatisfactory online experience and potential revenue loss has never been stronger," explains William Agush, vice-president of marketing at Gomez. "Now more than ever, online retailers need to focus on ensuring a consistently superior web experience that will drive sales and brand loyalty or risk losing the customer to a competitor."

Jupiter's study also found that more than a third of shoppers with a poor experience abandoned the site entirely, and 75 percent were likely not to shop on that site again. Moreover, nearly 30 percent of dissatisfied customers will either develop a negative perception of the company or tell their friends and family about the experience.

Gomez's study mirrored these findings. "What we've learned is that online shoppers have high expectations for their online experience and a low tolerance for downtime, inconsistency and slowdowns," Agush says.

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