Dotcom companies are failing in their attempts to gain users' trust over online buying.
Nine out of 10 internet users do not feel comfortable disclosing credit card details over the internet, according to a survey conducted by research firm Arnold & Bolingbroke for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
The recent collapse of many dotcom companies, such as Boo.com, may be seen as an indicator of buyers' distrust. Shopping portal Lastminute.com has almost three million subscribers, but in 1999 only a tiny percentage of those (156,000 people) actually bought anything.
“For the moment businesses appear to be failing to assure consumers that they are adequately addressing e-privacy," said David Wright, head of the UK privacy practice at PwC. “The obligation is on companies to establish trust with consumers online.”
But retailers see themselves as still in early days online. “People are starting to feel more comfortable buying online,” said Helen Baker, marketing manager at Lastminute.com. “Their worries about security are more to do with perception than actuality.”
This is in part backed up by the survey's revelation that only two percent of online shoppers had been victims of web fraud.
Throughout Europe there is concern over online privacy, with 75 percent of European users opting out of providing any personal information to avoid intrusion into their personal affairs.
Brand reputation and creating customer confidence in technology were just two of many areas which e-businesses need to address, the survey says.