SYDNEY: Almost one third of online shoppers in Australia and New Zealand are abandoning the internet and going back to bricks-and-mortar retailers, according to a new survey which highlights the frustrations they are experiencing in this channel.

Cloud-hosting company Rackspace commissioned a survey of more than 1,000 online shoppers across Australia and New Zealand and found that 45% of respondents had abandoned a purchase after encountering difficulties with a website, while 47% had gone to a different site to purchase the same product.

But 29% of respondents said they had given up on online retailing altogether because of their poor shopping experiences, Mass Retailer reported.

And advertising was the prime culprit: the volume of pop-up ads was cited as the leading irritation by 42% of online shoppers, ahead of other factors such as online service failing to match that in-store (34%) and the time spent in narrowing down the available options (28%).

On that last point, 42% of shoppers reported that online search categories did not match their required criteria, while another 42% said that websites didn't provide options that were specific to their search.

"People shop online due to the convenience it offers, but they are being driven away because they aren't able to navigate through to purchase quickly and easily enough," said Angus Dorney, director and general manager, Rackspace ANZ.

"Retailers should apply the same simple old-fashioned customer service values to their online site, as they would to the physical shop front," he added. "It should be inviting, easy to navigate and helpful."

Dorney also pointed to the average time spent browsing for an item on an online retail site: 15.5 minutes. "That's a massive amount of consumer capture time, as well as spending potential that is being missed by online retailers, simply because of issues on their websites," he observed.

Most of those surveyed (83%) said they valued online shopping for the convenience, but 44% thought traditional retail outlet shopping was quicker if they knew what they were looking for and 43% preferred the service they received in-store.

But showrooming remains an issue. More than one third (36%) said they had chosen an item in a store but then gone online to buy it at a cheaper price.

Data sourced from Mass Retailer; additional content by Warc staff