EDMONTON, AB (SEND2PRESS NEWSWIRE) — Gift cards are becoming a holiday gift of choice, and retailers are finally making it easy to buy them online. A study of nine leading websites by Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc. (www.webmysteryshoppers.com) has found big improvements over the past two years for people wanting to buy gift certificates online.

(c) Send2Press“Two years ago you really had to hunt at most sites to find out if and how you could buy a gift certificate,” notes company founder and website usability expert, Tema Frank. “But now at every site tested people ranked the experience of shopping for a gift certificate online better than shopping for one in-person.”

Even better for retailers, the research found that online gift cards can drive other sales on websites. “Every time we do this study we find that people get distracted and start looking at the merchandise too,” said Ms Frank. “Imagine the power of saying to a shopper, ‘Now that you’ve ordered a gift card for your friend, why not get a little something for yourself while you’re here?'”

Other key findings:

– People want to be able to choose either electronically delivered gift certificates or mailed ones. Sites such as Sears.com, which only appear to have a mailed card option, register higher levels of user frustration.

– Consumers want to see what the gift certificate or card will look like. Some sites, like Wal-Mart even go so far as letting people chose their own card design, which makes the card giving experience more personal.

CDUniverse.com, Cooking.com, Crutchfield.com, Eddiebauer.com, GiftCertificates.com, Home Depot, Land’s End, Sears and Wal-Mart websites were tested by 284 Web Mystery Shoppers(r) between October 28 and November 3.

A free executive summary of the research is available at www.webmysteryshoppers.com.

About Web Mystery Shoppers International:

Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc. (www.webmysteryshoppers.com) helps companies convert clickers into customers. By using large numbers of trained, paid testers, who work from their own computers and provide detailed, page-by-page feedback, about their experience, clients are given insight not only about their web site, but about differences in user perception based on variables like computer and browser systems and Internet experience.

For further information visit www.webmysteryshoppers.com or contact:Tema Frank, President, Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc., Toll-free: 1-866-211-7027 Tel: (780) 444-5645, tema@webmysteryshoppers.com.

All trademarks acknowledged.

News issued by: Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc.

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Original Story ID: (1061) :: 2005-12-1201-003

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News Source: Web Mystery Shoppers International Inc.