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Study Finds 35% of Consumers Have Walked Away from a Small Business Because of its Poor Website

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A total of 46 percent of US consumers have cancelled plans to spend with a small business after discovering a poor quality website, according to research released by 1&1 Internet Inc., www.1and1.com, a global leader amongst Web hosts. From a study of more than 2,000 US adults, 35 percent have walked away completely and an additional 7 percent have opted to spend less as a direct result. Many consumers feel that small business websites today are mostly unattractive and often contain errors.

The majority of US businesses have now taken steps to launch a website and battle for valuable online visibility. However, 1&1’s '2011 Virtual Main Street Audit' finds low levels of consumer satisfaction with the small business websites available for them. The risk to SMBs from providing a bad online experience is clear – 45 percent of consumers believe that a bad website makes a worse impact than a business having no website at all. This conclusion has led 35 percent to walk away from companies completely, in favor of using a competitor. An additional 7 percent of Americans have found themselves reducing their spending with small companies as a direct result of being deterred by a poor company website.

Oliver Mauss, CEO of 1&1 Internet, Inc. said, "Research shows that keeping an unattractive or badly functioning website online can comprise a risk to sales revenue. Consumers have increasingly  high expectations, and it is essential that every company website inspires confidence. Businesses that invest carefully in their Web experience will see higher levels of customer spend, retention and referral".

Many business websites have not evolved as they should have in recent years. One third of consumers surveyed (30 percent) believe they most often lack essential features, 28 percent find  that  the small business websites they use are "unimpressive", and 29 percent frequently find errors such as typos or broken URLs.

Significantly, many American consumers are keen to help business owners create a more satisfying online experience. Given the facility for providing feedback, 35 percent of shoppers would provide a review or recommendation for improving a small business website. Hence, companies should add a feedback form to their website, or set up an e-mail address to collect valuable user-comments.

The data suggests the outlook for online spending remains strong. Nearly two thirds of consumers plan to maintain their level of online spending from 2010, and 23 percent foresee an increase in the number of purchases they will make online. Thus, US businesses can be reassured that investments made to improve their websites will positively impact their bottom line.

Mauss added, "Firms must not shy-away from addressing their website’s weaknesses. For all business owners, customer feedback can be a hugely effective weapon for ensuring that the Web is performing for them".

 About 1&1 Internet Inc: 1&1 Internet Inc. is a subsidiary of United Internet, a profitable public company with a market cap of $3 billion. 1&1 was founded in 1988 and hosts more than 11 million domain names, while more than 70,000 servers run in the company’s five state-of-the-art, green data centers. 1&1’s global community is approximately 10 million customer contracts strong.

Aimed specifically at helping SMBs launch a compelling and effective website in minutes, 1&1 offers its MyBusiness Site range of packages starting at $9.99 per month, all three 1&1 MyBusiness Site packages include a choice of 125 industry-specific templates with related pre-filled texts for sectors ranging from accountant to restaurant. Additional integrated features include a Visitor Counter and Guestbook. Within the packages, advanced tools include feedback forms, industry specific Image Library and RSS Feeds on news and weather, as well as catalogue and product search and shop functionality.

1&1 Internet Inc. delivers a high-quality service to businesses with a wide range of Web-based solutions to maximize their IT resources. 1&1 serves approximitely 10 million customers worldwide and manages over 11 million domain names. 1&1’s products include domain names, Web building tools, shared Web hosting, dedicated and virtual servers, Software-as-a-Service, business class e-mail, eCommerce solutions, and cloud server solutions.  Websites, Web Hosting, Web Marketing. Easy as 1&1. Find more information at www.1and1.com. The company’s North American headquarters is located in Chesterbrook, Pa. For or 1-877-GO-1AND1 or on Twitter @1and1.

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