Survey: Consumers Will Abandon Small Businesses Because of Poor Websites

— June 04, 2012

Forty-six percent of U.S. consumers have cancelled plans to spend with a small business after discovering a poor quality website, according to research from global web host 1&1 Internet Inc.  The study of more than 2,000 U.S. adults revealed that 35 percent have walked away completely and an additional 7 percent have opted to spend less as a direct result.

While 1&1 Reports that the majority of U.S. businesses have taken steps to launch a website, its 2011 Virtual Main Street Audit finds low levels of consumer satisfaction with the small business websites available to them, with 45 percent of consumers believing that a bad website makes a worse impact than a business having no website at all.

The survey revealed that consumers believe many small business websites have not evolved to keep pace with advancing technology and cite unattractive websites that often contain errors. Specifically, 30 percent of consumers surveyed believe small business websites most often lack essential features, 28 percent find that the small business websites they use are “unimpressive,” and 29 percent report frequently finding errors such as typos or broken URLs. The report also showed that many American consumers are willing to help business owners create a more satisfying online experience — given the opportunity to provide feedback, 35 percent of shoppers would provide a review or recommendation for improving a small business website.

Data from the survey suggest the outlook for online spending remains strong. Nearly two-thirds of consumers plan to maintain their level of online spending from 2010, and 23 percent foresee an increase in the number of purchases they will make online.

“Research shows that keeping an unattractive or badly functioning website online can comprise a risk to sales revenue,” said Oliver Mauss, CEO of 1&1 Internet Inc. “Firms must not shy away from addressing their website’s weaknesses. For all business owners, customer feedback can be a hugely effective weapon for ensuring that the web is performing for them.”

1&1, which was founded in 1988 and hosts more than 11 million domain names and houses more than 70,000 servers in its five data centers, offers website packages specifically for SMBs that offer industry-specific templates and advanced tools including feedback forms, industry- specific image libraries and RSS Feeds on news and weather, as well as catalogue and product search and shop functionality.

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