The American Express Retail Monitor has found that, as shoppers become more clued up about the products they are buying, retailers have realised the importance of providing product information.

The survey found that 85% of retailers view the provision of product information as a key factor in attracting the kind of consumers who now demand comprehensive product information before making a purchase.

All of which sounds a lot like common sense, yet we all know that many etail sites still fail in this area.

With the availability of price and product comparisons on shopping sites like Kelkoo, online shoppers are far more educated about the products they plan to purchase. 72% of retailers surveyed believe that their customers are now well informed about their competitors’ products and prices.

The report reveals that 34% of retailers see the pre-purchase stage is the most important aspect of the online shopping experience, while 48% feel that the look of a website has a significant influence over online purchases.

A website’s usability is important to 73% of online retailers, which begs the question of why the other 27% feel this is not so significant, as there’s nothing like a poor-performing website to deter potential customers.

Retailers also seem to be catching on to the fact that online experiences can affect a customer’s view of a retailer’s offline operations, with 59% considering that a good online experience could boost in store sales.

The surprise here is that only 59% see the importance of the link between online and offline, something we have written about previously.

For more information on online customer experience, take a look at our Customer Engagement Report (subscriber access).

Further Reading:

Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2006

Online Retail User Experience Benchmarks 2004