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More – and better – e-shops

SHOPPING websites have been attracting more and more Slovaks, while the quality of e-shops has been growing, price-comparison website Heureka.sk has reported.

SHOPPING websites have been attracting more and more Slovaks, while the quality of e-shops has been growing, price-comparison website Heureka.sk has reported.

While about 80 new e-shops were launched in Slovakia each month in 2011, this year this number is almost double. However, dozens of e-shops also close each month.

“Slovaks most often open e-shops selling electrical appliances, clothes, perfumes and books,” Kamil Demuth, project manager at Heureka.sk, wrote in a press release in October. “Smaller e-shops, which Slovaks run along with their full-time jobs, dominate. However, weak engagement by their owners [in their e-shops] is often the reason for their subsequent demise.”

The growing competition has put pressure on the quality of e-shops’ services, so price is no longer the most important criterion for customers deciding where to shop: personal experience or the experience of other customers determines whether customers return, the study reported. Reviews serve not only as feedback for clients but also for the e-shops themselves.

Heureka.sk recommends that when choosing where to shop online, consumers look for the “Tested by customers” certificate, which e-shops with positive independent evaluations from real customers hold.

According to the price-comparison website, the quality of Slovak e-shops has improved each year. It ascribes this not only to the growing competition but also to pressure from customers, who shop via the internet not only due to lower prices but also because of the more extensive range on offer, and because of the supplementary services available.

“The quality of Slovak e-shops rose decisively over the last year,” said Demuth. “Shops are communicating better with customers, improving storage and logistics processes, and moreover extending services related to the supply of goods or payment.”

Demuth confirmed that price is no longer the only factor influencing customers.

“The most successful e-shops are not the cheapest ones; instead, more and more people shop with them thanks to their quality of service,” Demuth said, adding that nowadays a large number of e-shop clients visit shopping-advisor and price-comparison websites, where they choose the best e-shop according to its ratio of price and quality.

In Slovakia customers spend, on average, €125 on each online order. This is more than Czech customers, whose average online order amounts to roughly €109.

It is electrical appliance sales in particular, accounting for over one third of all purchases in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic, that affect the average amount spent.

“The average value of an order has been decreasing over the long term, as it is linked to the growing number of customers also purchasing goods of a lower value via the internet,” Demuth wrote in a press release in July.

Apart from electrical appliances like white goods, TVs, mobile phones and cameras, Slovaks most commonly go online to buy clothes and footwear, books and cosmetics.

The average gross income of Slovaks shopping online is €825, which is €55 more than the average wage in Slovakia as measured during the first quarter of 2012.

Heureka.sk compares about a million products available through almost 4,500 Slovak e-shops. It is part of a family of websites run by the Czech company Miton Media.

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