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67% of Brits uncomfortable with how e-commerce sites use data – research from Zwoop

Research uncovers top e-commerce frustrations in the UK and US

Survey of online shopping habits finds e-commerce market dominance, dissatisfaction with customer experience, and concern over how data is used

Zwoop, the AI and blockchain enabled find engine, has announced the results of its research into consumer e-commerce habits and frustrations. In a comprehensive survey of 1000 UK adults and 1000 US adults (through personal data and insights platform CitizenMe) Zwoop reveals their serious frustrations with online shopping and concerns about how companies are using their data.

Customer pain points with e-commerce ranked

Despite the UK being one of the most sophisticated e-commerce markets in the world, consumers do not appear to enjoy the online shopping experience. “E-commerce has evolved to service the needs of retailers rather than consumers, who are forced to experience pain throughout the buying process,’ said Alessandro Gadotti, CEO of Zwoop. “Our research has identified a high level of frustration in the UK and the US. People struggle to find products that are in stock, unexpected charges are imposed at the end of the buying process, purchases aren’t being delivered when promised and time is wasted trying to find the exact products they want.”

When asked about common e-commerce issues, shoppers from the UK and US reported experiencing the following:

Top five problems shopping online UK and US
1The item you are looking for is out of stock64Unexpected charges on top of your purchase53
2Unexpected charges on top of your purchase46The item you are looking for is out of stock48
3What you buy is not delivered on time / when expected39It takes a long time to find what you want47
4What you want is only available abroad34The check out process is too time consuming44
5It takes a long time to find what you want32You can never find the exact product you are looking for41

 Customers unhappy with how their data is being used

In addition to buying grievances, the survey also uncovered a trend of a more fundamental concern – how retailers are using customer data. On both sides of the Atlantic, customers reported increased sensitivity about how their data is being used by retailers and third parties (84 percent in the UK, 78 percent in the US claim that they are more conscious of how their data is being used compared to a year ago). The scale of the challenge facing retailers is underlined by the fact that 67 percent of UK adults, and 69 percent of US adults said they were uncomfortable with how their data was used.

“While it’s encouraging that consumers are more aware of how their data is being used – probably thanks to the Cambridge Analytica revelations earlier this year – their dissatisfaction is not being met with real change,” said Gadotti. “This research shows that the vast majority of people do not like how their data is being used, yet they are stuck using the same sites regardless. Companies are taking advantage of customers, and there needs to be another option. This is an area in which the use of blockchain – which can transfer control of personal data from the retailer to the individual – holds much promise”.

E-commerce monopolised

The survey revealed that the typical consumer’s e-commerce experience is dominated by a few large companies. Amazon is the starting point for online shopping for 47 percent of people in the UK, and 37 percent people in the US. In fact, 94 percent of Brits and 90 percent of Americans start their online shop on Amazon, eBay or a search engine, leaving little market space for online retailers or competing marketplaces.

This reliance on a few sites means that shoppers are not necessarily getting a true view of the options available to them, which many customers recognise. In the US, over a third (36 percent) admitted that they don’t bother to compare prices between different sites and almost half (46 percent) think they could have found a cheaper price if they looked for longer. Even more people in the UK (55 percent) think they could have found a better price if they’d kept looking.

“The world of e-commerce is dominated by a few large companies who control the market,” continued Gadotti. “The majority of consumers start their shopping experience with these giants by default, because searching the whole of the internet has been next to impossible, at least until now, and don’t even consider looking at other websites.

“Most worryingly, 79 percent of UK adults said that they believe the websites they use are designed to find them the best deals. In reality, that is not the case – search engines, for example, do not show results on the best deal, it’s done on SEO and ultimately marketing spend.”

Cryptocurrency payments welcomed

When asked, 40 percent UK adults and a staggering 68 percent of US adults said that the ability to use cryptocurrency on their favourite shops online would make them more likely to buy cryptocurrency.