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Prettier Websites Make for More Trusting Web Surfers, Study Finds

MELBOURNE, Australia July 14, 2011 University of Melbourne

However, while surfers may be more trusting, online shoppers are 30% less loyal to online businesses than in 2007.

Brent Coker

"With websites becoming increasingly attractive and including more trimmings, this creates a greater feeling of trustworthiness and professionalism in online consumers."

University of Melbourne

According to Dr. Coker, the research could have a profound impact on the future of e-commerce. "The biggest source of frustration is the inability to find relevant information on a website. The best way to stop defection to other websites, and increase loyalty, is to be interesting. Being pretty, but with nothing to say, is not enough."

The research found that if a website has poor navigation or access to information, or is slow (i.e. more than two seconds to download), web surfers are more likely to opt against purchasing and navigate to an alternate website.  

In the last five years, the frequency of referring others to websites has increased by 32%. "This increase is largely due to social networking sites, like Facebook, that enable users to share links and recommendations," Dr. Coker suggests.

"People are developing relationships with the Internet the same way we develop relationships with other people. Compared to five years ago, we are more trusting of attractive websites, less tolerant of websites that have irrelevant information, and more likely to introduce ourselves to websites that are new," he said.  

"Our online lives are changing the way we think about shopping and interaction with others," Dr. Coker says. "Shopping offline is very different to shopping online. Offline we shop in a large room, with clear signage, and often a sales assistant. Online, however, what we want to buy is buried somewhere, and we’re left to find it on our own."

Las Vegas

For more information:

Brent Coker

Laura Soderlind

University of Melbourne

Press Release Distribution

University of Melbourne

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