STUDY: ‘Too Many Ads’ Remains the Biggest Frustration for Online Shoppers

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New data from Usabilla reveals consumers’ online and brick-and-mortar ‘nightmare’ shopping experiences

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To remain competitive in the crowded retail market, brands must prioritize usability, streamline the path to purchase and find ways to make online ads enhance the experience rather than diminish it. Otherwise, they risk losing loyal customers to competitors.

Forty percent of consumers report “too many ads” as the biggest frustration when shopping on mobile devices, and 53 percent report the same on desktop, according to new data from globally renowned voice of customer (VoC) platform Usabilla.

In its Retail Nightmare Report, Usabilla surveyed 2,000 U.S. consumers about their retail preferences and found they have little patience for time-consuming and intrusive shopping experiences. Along with intrusive ads, the report found that re-entering information like shipping and billing addresses when shopping with their preferred retailers online is the biggest frustration for 34 percent of desktop shoppers and 31 percent of mobile shoppers. Thirty-seven percent of customers report that they create accounts with retailers to save time and avoid re-entering information, which is significantly higher than those who create accounts for more personalized experiences (13 percent).

In addition to expecting efficient shopping experiences, consumers also value easy navigation. Sixty-one percent of customers will leave an online store if they don’t like the website, and almost one in five (18 percent) consumers report that a difficult-to-use website or app would be the factor most likely to prevent them from ever returning to an online store.

“Today’s shoppers go online for convenience, so slow-loading websites, intrusive ads and clunky user experiences defeat the purpose, especially for users on mobile phones, where patience runs even thinner,” said Kathleen Hickey, marketing manager at Usabilla. “To remain competitive in the crowded retail market, brands must prioritize usability, streamline the path to purchase and find ways to make online ads enhance the experience rather than diminish it. Otherwise, they risk losing loyal customers to competitors.”

The report also reveals that pushy sales staff can nudge customers to shop online instead, or even abandon the retailer entirely. Forty-nine percent of consumers have lied to sales staff to get out of a conversation in store, and this number rises to 64 percent for millennials. Additionally, 42 percent of consumers report that a negative experience with sales staff is most likely to cause them to never return.

Despite common pain points during the shopping journey, customers are still willing to give feedback to help retailers make valuable improvements. According to the report, 37 percent of customers are receptive to providing feedback when asked via email, and 19 percent are receptive when asked immediately after purchase, especially after positive experiences. On the contrary, customers are more likely to approach retailers themselves after negative experiences. Nearly one fourth (23 percent) prefer to do so over email, and one in five prefer to contact customer service.

“The best way to improve the retail customer experience both online and off is to simply listen,” said Sophie Corlay, global communication manager at Usabilla. “Customers are more likely to give feedback themselves after a negative, emotionally charged experience, but in general, they want retailers to ask. Retailers should feel comfortable soliciting feedback to get a more accurate, holistic picture of their CX. If they aren’t, they’re probably creating more retail nightmares than they realize.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Customer reviews are by far the most valued information by shoppers, with 44 percent reporting peer product reviews as the most helpful resource (followed by online customer service associates at 25 percent).
  • Only 4 percent of customers ranked chatbots as the most helpful online resource when researching products.
  • The number one cause of cart abandonment is high shipping costs (58 percent).
  • Seventeen percent of customers report that a shipping or delivery error that delayed the arrival of a product would cause them to never return to an online store.

The Usabilla Retail Nightmares Report is based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. consumers from 2018. To download the full report, please click here.

About Usabilla
Usabilla, a globally trusted customer and employee listening platform, was founded with the belief that continuous user feedback is the key to any successful website, product or service. Its services helps brands to improve the performance of their websites, apps and emails with live user feedback. Over 20,000 clients worldwide use Usabilla’s Voice of Customer solutions to improve user experience, increase conversions and boost customer satisfaction. For more information, visit

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