June 14, 2005 - (HOSTSEARCH.COM) - Online shopping is convenient, but many companies whose web sites do brisk sales often leave consumers wanting. Thats according to ForeSee Results, a research company that studied customer satisfaction among Internet shoppers. One way to improve the experience is gift cards, according to Merchant Commerce
, an e-commerce services provider in Fayetteville. Gift cards can be used to reward loyal customers and to attract new clients. People love to tell their friends about new shops or products they have found, said Rebecca Campbell, Manager of Merchant Commerce. Gift cards get shoppers in the door, whether its a Web store or a physical outlet.
Even though online sales number in the tens of billions of dollars each year, they still total less than 10% of the overall retail market. Price is usually a secondary factor online. Consumers who dont find what they want on one web site can simply jump to another; that is much easier than actually driving between stores. Consumers want good service, even when it cant be provided in-person, says Clarence Briggs, Chief Executive Officer of AIT, the parent company for Merchant Commerce. The Internet is their research tool, and a good web site makes that process as easy as possible.
This can be as simple as letting browsers build a shopping list before committing to a purchase so that check-out is easy. Or, a clothing site that lets shoppers see what items look like in combination. Or, a site that provides third-party assessments of a product line, with links to news stories, for instance. It all adds up creating a scenario where a consumer wants to buy, said Campbell. Gift cards are one more way of appealing to shoppers, and people who use them tend to spend more than the actual value of the card.