New PayPal study uncovers online retailers’ insights into customer behaviour.

Large and small e-tailers across the UK believe the future of online sales is no longer just about price and choice, as customers are now demanding the same, if not higher, levels of experience and service they would on the high street. Site speed, accessibility, after sales service and even the ability to exchange goods are all important factors as retailers look to maximise sales.

These findings come from new research unveiled today by PayPal, the online payment provider, conducted in partnership with providers Venda, the European market leader for eCommerce solutions, and RomanCart. More than 250 online retailers were surveyed, including larger e-tailers on the Venda solution like Monsoon, Superdrug and Wickes as well as SMEs.

The research forms the first stage of a major PayPal study looking at trends, issues and insights in online shopping, to be rolled out in the coming months. PayPal is the UK’s preferred online payment brand and has a customer base of over 20 million online shoppers, which represents one in every three British shoppers. PayPal is a payment option on over 120,000 retailers’ sites across Europe.

In general, retailers felt that an online retailer must offer a complete experience, from first click to delivery of goods, when trying to encourage customers to return to their site; however, top considerations included fast delivery times and strong after sales service.

The majority (68%) of large retailers felt that cost and wait times for delivery were the biggest frustration for shoppers. This was in large contrast to SME’s with only 26% of smaller retailers identifying issues associated with delivery as a big frustration. Customers’ lack of confidence in after sales service (47%) also featured strongly, and 39% felt that long online checkout processes caused major customer frustration.

Cameron McLean, PayPal’s General Manager, Merchant Services, comments:

“We see our e-tailer customers grasping the opportunity to bring back customers for repeat purchases with better after sales service and shopping experience. This, combined with secure payment options, creates real brand loyalty online and is contributing to increased sales.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, 67% of the retailers polled said that security concerns remain the biggest worry for the online shopper.
The study also looked at the concept of ‘cold feet’ where customers drop off a shopping site part way during the sales process.

Interestingly, 68% of SMEs’ view customer registration requirements as the main reason for cold feet versus 48% of larger retailers. Poor site experience and unclear navigation are two of the bigger influencers of ‘cold feet’, citied by over half of online retailers (57%), alongside security concerns.

Cameron McLean continued:

“Online retailers recognise that today’s online shopper is more demanding than ever before. If a customer doesn’t feel they’re receiving a quality experience there’s always another retailer out there who can offer it to them. We predict that this focus on services will be more and more crucial in those markets where price differences are less pronounced.”

Dan Wagner, Chairman at Venda commented:

“Checkout experience, site navigation and security were all things that we expected to see in the survey results. Venda’s unique community infrastructure means that as well as our standard checkout, PayPal Express checkout integration, faceted (or guided) navigation and adherence to the Tier 1 PCI compliance security level are all things that are part of our standard site builds at no extra cost. I was also pleased that accessibility and site speed were also mentioned as BBC Shop, a Venda client, was confirmed as the most reliable site in the UK over Christmas last year. Retailers need to address these issues now; otherwise they will struggle to get the sales.”

Major UK brands which have launched with PayPal in recent months include BBC Shop, Adobe, Toshiba, ITV Shop, Republic, High & Mighty, and all the Arcadia brands; Burton, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Miss Selfridge, Topman, Topshop, and Wallis. By partnering with PayPal retailers gain an additional way to accept credit cards, debit card and bank payments online. In addition, with PayPal’s Express Checkout websites have an average shopping cart conversion of 72%, compared to the industry average of just 50%.

-Ends-

Notes to Editors:

For more information please contact:
Rhodri Harries/Imogen England
T: 020 3043 4192
Email: imogen.england@kaizo.net

* According to independent Forrester research, 23% of European online shoppers prefer paying with PayPal.

** Active accounts are those that have had activity in the past 12 months.

About Venda
Venda delivers on-demand eCommerce to some of the world’s leading retailers and manufacturers, including DeBeers, Monsoon, Sharp, Laura Ashley, The Body Shop, and Urban Outfitters. The Company’s complete eCommerce platform combines flexibility, reliability and scalability with the operating advantages of an outsourced service. Multi-lingual and multi-currency capable, Venda’s solutions provide “best of the web” capabilities to mid-tier and Fortune 1000 companies, giving them a complete service and support infrastructure on which to grow their business.

Venda allows customers to reduce the risk, complexity and cost associated with eCommerce, while empowering business users and delivering unprecedented ROI. With offices in New York, London and Bangkok, the Company is managed by a team of eCommerce veterans with years of experience in online businesses. For more information go to http://www.venda.com

Venda recently launched a solution for small businesses in association with PayPal based around the best-practices of the enterprise solution. This is priced at only £49.99 inc VAT, and early adopters have been able to set-up and take orders from their online shop in less than a day. For more information go to http://shop.venda.com

Press Contacts:
Andy Houstoun
020 7070 7000, ahoustoun@venda.com
About RomanCart

RomanCart is the easiest way to turn any website into an online store. By simply cutting and pasting 'Add to Basket' buttons or hyperlinks onto their web pages, retailers are able to start selling online within minutes of signing up. The RomanCart Shopping Cart home page can be found at http://www.romancart.com

About PayPal

Thousands of merchants accept PayPal today from their websites, including leading e-commerce sites such as Boots, DHL, Harrods, Friends Reunited, New Look and eBay. PayPal also supports payments for Monarch Airways with a payment solution for flight bookings. With PayPal, merchants can sell their goods to the tens of millions of proven online shoppers that prefer PayPal***, often seeing a reduction in shopping cart abandonment therefore increasing sales conversion.

PayPal is a safer, easier way to pay and get paid online. The service allows anyone to pay in any way they prefer, including through credit cards, bank accounts or account balances, without sharing financial information. With more than 141 million accounts in 190 markets and 17 currencies around the world, PayPal enables global ecommerce. PayPal is an eBay company. More information about the company can be found at https://www.paypal.co.uk or https://www.paypal-press.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 2nd October 2008