Ecommerce sites do little to encourage online spending

It is excellent news that according to the recent study by Forrester (, 8 March), the UK is leading the way with online spend in Europe, but I believe this is despite retailers’ best efforts rather than because of them.

Ecommerce: Hard to navigate

Consumers recognise in a difficult economic climate that they can find better deals online and also like the anonymity of the internet. It’s not that consumers have actually quelled their spending but are just getting savvy as to how they shop and take a bit more time to find that internet bargain.

That said, the increase in spend online appears to be despite the frustrating experience that many consumers face when shopping. Ecommerce sites often have usability barriers that customers are expected to navigate around. This ranges from poor navigation to lack of sufficient product information.

Considering the poor usability of most online retail sites, is it any wonder that average conversion rates hover around the 5% mark? If more retail outlets invested in design and usability of these sites, conversion rates would surely rise. For some retailers even an increase of 1% could lead to millions, if not billions of increased sales.

So, while it is great news for ecommerce retailers that UK spend is set to continue to grow, they should also remember that there is still plenty of money being left on the table.

Andy Budd, MD and founder, Clearleft


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