Frustrated online shoppers head to high street, finds Rackspace study

According to a new survey from Rackspace, a leading managed cloud company, almost half (45%) of UK consumers claim they prefer to shop on the high street instead of online. Frustrated by long winded search functions and too much choice, over a third (34%) of shoppers will give up browsing a website after just 10 minutes if they can’t find what they want and a further 26% will give up after 15 minutes, the study found.

Men are less patient in their search with 40% prepared to spend no more than 10 minutes looking for an item compared to 28% of women, the study of 2,000 UK consumers uncovers. As a result, 45% of shoppers would switch to another website, 35% claim they would abandon their purchase entirely and 24% would hit the shops to find what they need instead.

Frustrated by filters

Top consumer frustrations with shopping online include:

  1. Too many irrelevant pop up adverts
  2. Too many options that take too long to narrow down
  3. Search tools and filters make it difficult to find things
  4. The service isn’t as good as it is in stores
  5. It’s not personalised enough for them

Despite the fact that shoppers turn to the internet for convenience (80%) and price (56%), websites miss out to bricks and mortar shops because they are failing to inspire ‘browsing’ shoppers, said Rackspace. Over a third (38%) of consumers polled cited finding ‘inspiration’ as the main reason to shop on the high street compared to just one in five (21%) who go online. Women are more likely to turn to the high street for shopping inspiration (42%) compared to just 34% of men.

Additionally, the survey also shows that more women opt for online shopping because of convenience (82%) compared to men (78%), whereas men are more likely shop online because it’s cheaper (60%) compared to 52% of women.

Nigel Beighton, VP of Technology at Rackspace, said: “There is no doubt that the internet has made shopping cheaper but this survey shows that retailers are really missing a trick when it comes to converting browsing shoppers to buying customers on their websites. Retailers are making it too difficult for them to find what they want because of limited and frustrating search filters.”

Struggling with search

When asked specifically about frustrations shoppers experienced when using search filters and tools online, over a quarter (26%) believe the categories offered by e-commerce sites don’t match their desired criteria, 25% think that they aren’t specific to their search and a further 20% get annoyed that they are only able to select just one option. 13% also believe they aren’t personalised enough to them as an individual and 10% just don’t bother with them at all.

Beighton said: “We are now in a place where big data and search combined is so powerful that it can take information from both the outside and online world and offer shoppers something truly bespoke to them as an individual. The search function might not seem that significant but actually it holds the key to solving all of these problems. Cloud has given retailers unmatched levels of computing power necessary to manage their big data and give them real time analysis so they can refine their search functionality. Ultimately, a powerful search function can take customer data – their preferences, habits, buying behaviours – and combine it with online and real world information to create a unique and, most importantly, an easy online experience for shoppers.

“Smaller online retailers that can’t compete on price with bigger brands should seize the opportunity of search to give customers the ‘inspiration’ that they are failing to find online. Using search that isn’t limed by restricted criteria and a few descriptive words would move them away from trying to challenge competitors on just price alone.”

Perfecting personalisation

Furthermore, according to the survey, over two thirds (37%) of marketing emails go straight into the bin because consumers find them irrelevant and one in five shoppers (20%) also find irrelevant pop up adverts frustrating. By using search and big data together, retailers can take analytics one step further and offer consumers a truly personalised search and filter tool, suggested purchases or offers to improve their online experience, claims Rackspace.

Rackspace Hortonworks Data Platform is powered by Apache Hadoop, and gives retailers a professional, bespoke environment for their big data, the company claims. This is fully supported by Rackspace’s Managed Cloud which runs retailers e-commerce platforms whilst providing 24x7x365 support that ensures performance, security and cost efficiency, Rackspace adds.