Data published by the UK Domain by Nominet shows that, despite nearly seven in ten (67%) customers-to-be checking the web when planning to visit a physical business, 61% of independent businesses have inaccurate opening hours listed online, or none at all.
Businesses are often victims of inaccurate online listings that search engines share for the world to see. They may have no idea that these listings are there and the information shared is often unverified by the businesses themselves, relying on crowd-sourced data and potentially unreliable third-party sources.
Nominet says that the consequences for independent businesses are huge. Almost two-thirds (63%) of shoppers would never return to an independent business if they arrived to find that the business was shut and that they had had a wasted journey despite online information stating it was open.
The winners are the established chains: the certainty afforded by their more established and accurate online presence lures in more customers. 71% of people polled said that once their trust has been lost by an independent business, either due to inaccurate information or another factor, they are more likely to turn to established chains.
Ultimately, the research found, this costs independent high street businesses up to £6.1 billion in lost revenue every year as consumers spend elsewhere. This, coupled with the hike in business rates, where a fifth are expecting to see a rise of more than 40%, makes the retail environment increasingly challenging.
The UK Domain is encouraging all independent high street businesses to take charge of their web presence. Those with a website are more likely to win the confidence of potential customers because 69% of UK consumers trust businesses that have one.
It is not all about click-and-collect or buying online, the six most important things UK consumers want to be able to find at the click of a button are:
- opening hours (87%);
- product information (86%);
- opening days (85%);
- address (81%);
- contact information (78%); and
- business background (36%).
To read Nominet’s press release in full, click here.