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Almost half of UK consumers prefer the high street to online shopping

Almost half of all UK consumers prefer to shop on the high street rather than spend money online, according to a new survey from Rackspace.

The findings also indicate that shoppers are easily frustrated by sub-par online experiences.

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The survey found that 34 per cent of consumers will abandon online shopping after just 10 minutes if they are unable to find what they’re looking for, while an additional 26 per cent will quit after 15 minutes. Some of the most frequently cited complaints regarding online shopping included too many pop-up adverts and inadequate search tools.

Search functionality, in particular, has a major impact on consumer engagement, with 26 per cent of respondents claiming that ecommerce sites often provide categories that do not fit their desired items. 20 per cent of consumers are also left frustrated by only being able to select one category.

Nigel Beighton, vice president of technology at Rackspace believes that businesses are missing out if their online offering isn’t up to standard.

“There is no doubt that the Internet has made shopping cheaper but this survey shows that retailers are really missing a trick when it comes to converting browsing shoppers to buying customers on their websites,” he said. “Retailers are making it too difficult for them to find what they want because of limited and frustrating search filters.”

With advances in Big Data analysis and cloud computing, retailers are left with little excuse if their search tools are not up to scratch. With cloud services often proving cheaper than on-premise solutions, even smaller businesses should be able to offer effective search functionality that turns browsers into customers.

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“Cloud has given retailers unmatched levels of computing power necessary to manage their Big Data and give them real time analysis so they can refine their search functionality,” Beighton added. “Ultimately, a powerful search function can take customer data – their preferences, habits, buying behaviours - and combine it with online and real world information to create a unique and, most importantly, an easy online experience for shoppers.”

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.