The results are in. In my poll last week I asked for readers to share their online shopping experiences. The results are now in, and I’m afraid to say that they are statistically insignificant.

While I was tempted to execute a Blue Peter style fix to the lack of up take by completing the survey a few hundred times myself, I ultimately decided to be honest and admit that out of the hundreds of visitors and feed readers who my stats packages inform me read, or at least viewed, the invitation to partake, only three souls got involved.

To those three people, I thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. And I apologise that your efforts have not born more fruit.

My aim when publishing the survey was to gauge people’s attitudes to online shopping with the hope of establishing some sort of insight into the reasons why some purchases will be made online and some off line.

My hypotheses was that convenience and price play the biggest roles, and that when convenience takes precedence the whole end to end shopping experience is what counts. For example it may be cheaper to buy a book from Amazon, but the 4-5 business day delay in receiving said book may persuade you to buy it from a shop when you are next in town.

Lesson learnt

So, while I didn’t ultimately learn more about people’s online shopping experience as I had hoped I would, I did get a timely reminder of an old web truth; converting visitors from passive viewers into active participants is hard. My hundreds of viewers over the past week did not convert automatically into hundreds of survey submissions.

When working on a project that involved advertising online and on mobile phones back in my consulting days I often preached about the need to distinguish between hit rates and conversion rates. Seasoned contacts in the online advertising world would talk of being over the moon at a greater than 1% conversion rate (that is more than one click through on an advert for every 100 people viewing it). With such low rates expected by professionals who make a living by getting people to simply click on a link, I guess I was a little overly ambitious in my hope of getting people to not only click through, but then give some of their time to answer my questions.

Interestingly (at least for me, and I may be clutching at straws here on the interestingly-ness scale) according to the survey 100% of people who viewed the survey completed it. Which is something I guess.

Thank you once again to those who did take part.