Those are the results of a new poll from Harris Interactive, based in Rochester, N.Y., finding that 40 percent of online customers will abandon a Web site if a financial transaction fails.
Perhaps most importantly, the survey found that nine out of 10 online customers believe a transaction failure could indicate that their personal information was not secure.
The poll, which was conducted between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31, 2006, surveyed 2,790 adults in the United States. TeaLeaf Technology, a Web application management solution provider based in San Francisco, commissioned the survey.
The survey looked at consumer transactions on shopping, banking, travel and insurance Web sites.
The study found that 88 percent of the people polled reported online problems during financial transactions, affecting 4.5 percent of all online consumer transactions.
Harris Interactive cited a separate study by Forrester Research, in Cambridge, Mass., which predicted that consumer spending on the Internet would reach about $201 billion in 2006.
"Transaction failures on a companys Web site create such a bad impression in the eyes of consumers that just one troublesome issue can cause irreparable harm to a companys brand," the Harris Interactive report said.
Researchers added, "An astounding 91 percent of online consumers who experienced any type of problem when conducting an online transaction said they are at least somewhat likely to question the ability of a company to keep their private data secure if they encounter an online issue."
Consumers cited a number of problems that would cause them to stay away from Web sites, including:
- Incorrect information (41 percent)
- An "endless loop" on a Web site (36 percent)
- Difficulty in navigating a site (37 percent)
- Being kicked off the site (25 percent)
In its conclusions, Harris Interactive said that because the top two reasons for consumer complaints revolved around security and the ease of completing an online transaction, "any type of problem or issue has the potential to negatively impact the trusted relationship between the consumer and the Web site, with severe implications for the brand."