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Study: Inaccurate Web Color Often Ends Customer Loyalty

Press release from the issuing company

03/18/01 - According to a 2000 BizRate.com custom report commissioned by Imation, e-commerce businesses may lose customers if they can’t assure color confidence on their web sites. The study found that over 50 percent of online shoppers would not make future purchases from an online merchant that delivered an item in a color that wasn’t what they expected. The study surveyed a panel of 3,623 online shoppers about their web purchasing experiences and specifically, the impact of color accuracy on product returns and future purchasing behavior. The report indicated that 88 percent of consumers “prefer” to shop at online stores with accurate color and that 28 percent would “actively seek out” accurate color representation in online stores. Of the respondents, 26 percent indicated they had a personal experience with inaccurate color online during the last year. The study also shows that most e-shoppers don’t sit quietly when their purchases don’t arrive as represented on the web. Some 55 percent indicated that they would complain to the merchant and 47 percent would return the item. In fact, of those who had a bad experience with color, 34 percent stated that they had returned items for that reason. Return data that doesn’t specifically mention color as a reason for return may be leading some e-retailers to false conclusions. The study showed that of those who said they would not make a future purchase from an online merchant because of color inaccuracy, 70 percent did not return the item. “Return rates are not a good indicator of customer satisfaction,” noted Veilleux. “An e-retailer may mistakenly believe they don’t have color trouble because they have low overall return rates and their customers don’t cite color as a reason for return. But many customers don’t complain—they just leave. The study shows that customers who have been disappointed by color representation are not only unlikely to return the item, they are unlikely to return to the site, period.”