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New SOASTA Back-To-School Shopping Research Finds Online Platforms Need Improvement

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

September 08, 2014

New SOASTA Back-To-School Shopping Research Finds Online Platforms Need Improvement

By Michael Guta
TMCnet Contributing Writer

Retailers across the country rely on back-to-school shopping as much as they do other seasonal events. While it is not the same volume as Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping, it still makes up a considerable portion of annual revenue, especially for companies that specialize in school products. New research conducted by SOASTA (News - Alert), provider of cloud and mobile testing and real user monitoring, has revealed consumers were not happy with their recent back-to-school online shopping experience.

The online survey was conducted in the United States during the recent back-to-school shopping season by Harris Poll on behalf of SOASTA from August 21-25, 2014.  The survey asked 2,014 adults 18 and older to discuss their mobile and web online shopping experience.

SOASTA Back to School Shopping Report Card survey revealed 84 percent of Americans who made an online purchase for back to school experienced problems, which was followed by 56 percent of the respondents stating they will not use their smart phone or tablet after they had a negative experience or confronted technical problems with e-commerce sites.

With Black Friday (News - Alert) fast approaching, SOASTA says this report should be a wake-up call for online commerce sites that are not testing their platforms regularly. It goes on to say this can be a great opportunity for retailers to improve the mobile experience for consumers before the all-important holiday shopping season begins.

The biggest complaint the survey revealed, highlighted by 40 percent of the respondents, was slow websites. While there are many causes for slow websites, retailers must ensure they are optimized for mobile devices so users can access the sites quickly and easily without having to wait too long.

Additional complaints the survey revealed include:

Crashing websites - 32 percent

Websites not optimized for smartphone or tablets - 30 percent

Websites with problems during peak days and times - 25 percent

Websites that don’t respond to swipes, taps, or zooms - 23 percent

Bad user interface - 22 percent

All of these complaints can be fixed so consumers can access the website they want without any complications, but not doing so can result in high customer attrition rates. The survey further revealed 69 percent took actions that included not considering using the site again, going to a competitor site, informing their friends and family about their bad experience and reporting the incident on social media. A whopping 90 percent also said they expected the sites to have the same problems during the holidays and another 26 percent said they were not at all likely to visit a site during the holidays because of their bad back-to-school shopping experience.

 “As Americans increasingly embrace mobile to shop online, they are seeing back to school as an important test to see if their favorite stores are ready for the Christmas holiday shopping season. As we saw with, it’s imperative to plan ahead and test ahead of high-anticipated volume. By properly testing their sites, stores can make sure they are able to deliver flawless mobile and web performance under the busiest traffic conditions,” said Tom Lounibos (News - Alert), SOASTA CEO.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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