Supermarket retail giant Woolworths is being inundated with customer complaints because of its new website.

Last month the company opened the new site – to almost immediate and universal criticism.

By far the most number of complaints have been about the functionality of the site. Complaints include: The site crashing on iPad, confusion about product placement, navigation difficulty, displays larger than the screen on which they are posted, and regular stock not appearing.

Woolworths have for several years now deliberately kept moving stock around their shop floors in an attempt to encourage impulse buys as shoppers look for items. It now appears they are attempting to do the same through their website.

People need to see a product before they will buy it. The longer they see it, the greater the   chance they might buy it. So the more products they can make you look at, for a longer time, the greater the chance is you’ll buy one.

So, in theory at least, there is a genuine upside for Woolworths in intentionally making their website difficult to navigate, slow, and confusing: The more they can make a shopper scroll through their inventory, and the longer each item sits on the screen (waiting for the next one to load), the greater the likelihood of a purchase.

But the tactic that works so well in real life may not transfer over into the realm of the internet.

The company’s Facebook page has been hammered with complaints:

“New website is shocking and so frustrating!” wrote Alice Johnson. “So hard to navigate, very slow, and I can’t find food items that I would usually buy online. After many years shopping with Woolies I’m going to Coles online.”

“The new website will have us taking our business elsewhere,” wrote a livid Michael Gibson.

Kirsty Zakharoff wrote, “Why Woolworths, why? The new website is slow, hard to navigate, and my quick online shop has taken me ages just to find my normal stuff.”

Bek Lambert posted: “Guys, your new app keeps freezing and blacking out and your web version wouldn’t allow me to access lists or check my trolley until I paid. Not only that, but the search was not working and it took three times the amount of time.”

There were two highly suspicious posts praising the new website however: “I am very excited about your new site! When does it launch? A well made, intuitive site at good prices – let’s hope the rest of online stores in Australia get the same idea,” wrote Nikki Rose.

“Woolworths,” wrote Rebeklah Ramsey, “I really like the look of the new online shopping. How visually easy and organised – all the reasons to give up before.”

A Woolsworths spokesman said the company “regularly reviews customer feedback to ensure our online platforms are providing the level of service and information our customers expect.”

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