Almost three-quarters (73%) of shoppers would switch to another retailer if they suffered a poor experience when buying goods online, according to findings from JDA/Centiro in the Customer Pulse 2016 report.

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What makes this worse is the fact that over half (53%) of consumers had actually experienced a disappointing experience when buying goods over the past 12 months. This is up 6% on last year.

There is clearly a significant amount of disgruntled shoppers out there who are switching retailers, which is resulting in plenty of lost business for those companies most frequently delivering a poor experience online.

The disappointing part of this sad scenario is that a good chunk of these poor experiences look to be easily avoidable if improved operational practices are put into place by retailers. Consider that the research found that of those people who had encountered a poor service in the past year as many as 21% had received damaged items (up from 15% last year), and 26% had received the wrong goods (up from 22% in 2015).

The fact that both these figures, and the overall number of consumers that have suffered poor experiences in the past year, have increased markedly since 2015 suggests that as online volumes increase then the level of unacceptable service given to customers is also growing.

When you consider that online is proving to be an increasingly vital component of the overall retail mix then this deteriorating scenario is unsustainable for those retailers most guilty of disappointing customers because the one thing we can be sure of is that there will be a rival ready and waiting to steal that business.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider