Online retailers that don’t get the basics of site navigation and providing full product information right risk losing customers, according to a survey of 500 online shoppers. Easy navigation and detailed product information were found to be the most important aspects of an e-commerce website from the customer’s point of view.

The next most important factor affecting a consumer’s purchase is information about whether or not an item is out of stock, with a previous good experience with the retailer’s website in fourth place. Having a professional-looking website was ranked as the sixth most important factor in the customer’s buying decision, with positive feedback from other customers seventh.

Perhaps surprisingly, offering the cheapest prices is only the fifth most important consideration for an ecommerce company, according to the survey, while having a fast-performing website is in ninth place. The ability to compare products side-by-side rounds out the “Top 10 Ecommerce Turn-Ons”.

When it comes to the “Top 10 Ecommerce Turn-Offs”, though, having a site that looks insecure is the most likely thing to put off potential buyers. Bugs and technical issues with the site are the second biggest turn-off, while insufficient product information and product images come in third place.

Difficult shopping carts, long checkout forms and poorly-designed, slow websites also feature on the list of Top 10 Ecommerce Turn-Offs, with a lack of customer feedback and reviews, non UK-based retailers and poor choice of delivery options.

Whe it comes to retaining customers, though, providing promotions, offers and loyalty schemes was ranked as the second-most important factor behind a customer having had a previous good experience on the site.

Ecommerce sites that get the basics of navigation and providing plenty of product information are best placed to succeed, while factors such as providing the lowest prices aren’t necessarily as important as some may think.

Although retailers may feel a lot of price pressure, providing it at the cost of customer service is likely to be a false economy. It’s much more important to make sure the site looks professional and feels secure, while offering customers a smooth experience from the minute they enter the site to the point at which they receive the goods. This not only means happy customers, but increases the likelihood of them returning.

Top 10 e-commerce turn-ons

  1. Easy navigation
    2. Plentiful product information and images
    3. Clearly stated stock levels
    4. A previous good experience
    5. Cheapest prices
    6. Professional-looking website
    7. Positive feedback from other customers
    8. Flexible delivery/collection options
    9. Fast website
    10. Side-by-side product comparisons

Top 10 e-commerce turn-offs

  1. Site doesn’t look secure
    2. Bugs and technical issues with the site
    3. Insufficient product information and images
    4. Shopping cart difficult to use
    5. Checkout form too long
    6. Poorly-designed website
    7. Slow website
    8. Lack of customer reviews and feedback
    9. Retailer based outside of UK
    10. Insufficient delivery options