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Internet retailers are still facing an uphill struggle to convince punters that shopping online isn't just about picking up a bargain.

According to the latest research from Mintel, the single most important reason for consumers to shop online is price. The importance of stuff like reputation and brand comes way down the list.

Not only does this price fixation hit large retailers, it's especially difficult for smaller etailers that don't have the efficiencies of scale available to some of the larger players.

And online retailers have another headache too. As consumers become more and more concerned about security fears - especially using the Net to buy stuff - their confidence in ecommerce is beginning to be undermined, said the report.

Said Retail Analyst, Neil Mason: "Ever since the early days of e-commerce, e-tailers have been trying to get away from simply being the cheap option and have been trying to build brand names for themselves in order to encourage customer loyalty. Loyalty based on price is no loyalty at all and customers will simply jump ship at the first sign of a cheaper site.

"It is rather depressing news for e-tailers to find that all these efforts seem to have had little effect and that the prime concern for online shoppers is still price," he said. ®


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