An online entrepreneur says that poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for ecommerce businesses.
Charles Duncombe says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half.
Mr Duncombe says when recruiting staff he has been “shocked at the poor quality of written English”.
Sales figures suggest misspellings put off consumers who could have concerns about a website’s credibility, he says.
The concerns were echoed by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), whose head of education and skills warned that too many employers were having to invest in remedial literacy lessons for their staff.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics published last month showed internet sales in the UK running at £527m per week.
“I know that industry bemoaning the education system is nothing new but it is becoming more and more of a problem with more companies going online. This is because when you sell or communicate on the internet, 99% of the time it is done by the written word.”
Mr Duncombe says that it is possible to identify the specific impact of a spelling mistake on sales.
He says he measured the revenue per visitor to the tightsplease.co.uk website and found that the revenue was twice as high after an error was corrected.
“If you project this across the whole of internet retail, then millions of pounds worth of business is probably being lost each week due to simple spelling mistakes,” says Mr Duncombe, director of the Just Say Please group.
When a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue.