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Returns Policies Needed, But B-Commerce Sector Strong, Says Study

New York ( — According to a new study, the scandal surrounding American twins sold and resold by an Internet adoption agency, or b-tailer, should not negatively impact online baby sales, although the report did find several problem areas that could hinder the growth of the burgeoning b-commerce sector.

B-tail frustrations

The study, by consulting firm Colby-IKG, said b-commerce holiday sales increased 85 percent over last year, with the majority of consumers saying they turned to Internet baby sellers because it was more convenient than going to the mall, even if prices online were higher. Online shoppers also said they used the Internet because it saved them time, allowed them to research child histories more efficiently, and featured babies that were not available locally.

But b-tailers shouldn't get complacent, said IKG researcher Cathy Carter, as consumers also registered complaints about their purchasing experience. For example, she said, many reported their babies did not arrive in time for the holidays, and others complained they got the wrong babies and had to send them back. Other frustrations included Web pages that took too long to load, or the discovery that their desired baby was out of stock. The biggest problem for b-tailers, however, was customer service and fulfillment.

"I think that's where the Internet twins case will hurt," said Carter. "People saw that the twins were bought, then returned, then resold to a couple in Great Britain, and now it's all in court. B-tailers are definitely going to look at that and develop more comprehensive returns policies."

The study also found that 10 percent of holiday shoppers who encountered problems at a particular b-tail site continued shopping, while 70 percent abandoned the site for another b-tailer, or simply bought a puppy.


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