Consumers Chose Stores in '99

January 12, 2000

Consumers Chose Stores in '99

While generally enthusiastic about their Internet shopping experiences, experienced Web users still visited bricks-and-mortar stores to buy jewelry during the holidays, a new study shows.

Of more than 500 people surveyed, 27% bought jewelry during the holidays, according to a survey released this week by Andersen Consulting, a management and technology consultant. However, only 3% bought jewelry on-line, while 24% visited a store.

Web jewelers looking to change those statistics might consider the products and features respondents said would increase their likelihood of buying on-line. These include free product delivery (98%), on-time delivery guarantees (95%), no sales tax (91%), coupons and promotions (83%), toll-free telephone (68%) and live on-line (62%) customer service, customer reviews and recommendations (62%), helpful hints for color or size (58%), free gift wrapping (58%) and gift suggestions (46%).

Of those surveyed, 88% abandoned their on-line shopping carts at some point during the 1999 holiday season, and 40% said they experienced problems with Web sites, including finding items out of stock (64%), late delivery (40%) and high prices (38%). The survey showed when shoppers experienced ran into such problems, 35% simply left the site. "Internet retailers must solve their infrastructure problems or suffer consequences," says Steve Johnson, Andersen Consulting partner and codirector of the firm's e-commerce program. "Given high customer acquisition costs, e-tailers can't continue to lose one of every three consumers and expect to survive."

Even with all the problems, however, 73% of respondents ranked Internet shopping the highest in terms of overall satisfaction compared to bricks-and-mortar stores (60%) and catalogs (56%).

- by Mark E. Dixon