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Social media costs online retailers £11bn in lost revenue

Social media costs online retailers £11bn in lost revenue

Brits are increasingly turning to social media to broadcast their poor online shopping experiences to others, which is resulting in a dramatic decline in customer loyalty, according to new research from Harris Interactive and Tealeaf.

The ability to compare products and prices has lured 74% of consumers online. But 77% of those say that they have experienced problems in doing so.

As so many online consumers have experienced website issues in the last year, big brands are finding it increasingly difficult to satisfy their customers with 46% saying they would abandon a transaction entirely or switch to a competitor should they encounter problems.

That means that brands are missing out on £11.2bn of revenue in retail alone.

Furthermore, 74% of online adults said negative comments online influence likelihood to do business with a company.

The Online Consumer Behaviour report has also revealed that direct communication with a company has declined.

This shift in consumer behaviour extends the business impact of customer experience issues beyond any single transaction to an overall long-lasting negative impact on brand reputation.

Social networking sites can be highly influential, with 51% of online adults saying social media content had directly influenced how they conduct online transactions and 75% of those saying it had affected their choice of vendor.  

But it’s not all bad news, as interestingly, the survey also found that online adults whose transactions have been influenced by social media content actually respond to positive reviews (35%) more so than negative ones (26%), so good online transaction experiences are amplified online just as much, if not more, than bad.

Rebecca Ward , CEO of Tealeaf, said, “Over the past few years, companies have increasingly focused on the online customer experience as the economy drove more transactions online and the web became an increasingly critical channel for organisations.”

Alasdair Wright, director of online and interactive channels at BSkyB, added, “As the web channel matures, we are focusing more on making sure that the experience our online visitors receive is equal to what they would expect on any other channel. As the Tealeaf survey shows, this is fundamental to protecting our brand identity and maintaining good customer relationships.”  

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