Lack of search engine optimisation is causing many businesses and retailers to lose out on customers, a new survey has suggested.

The study, put together by SLI Systems, showed that 91 per cent of online shoppers use search engines to find stores and services rather than typing in a URL.

It was also revealed that 88 per cent of consumers visit the websites of stores that they have never heard of simply because they are returned as a relevant item by a search engine results page.

Commenting on the survey, SLI Systems’ chief executive Shaun Ryan, said: "Consumers have become more adept at shopping on the web and demand the same level of service as they’d get offline."

"Retail sites need to show shoppers what they’re looking for in a matter of seconds or risk losing a sale – or, even worse, losing a customer for good," he added.

The survey added that 71 per cent of shoppers will leave a website in under two minutes if they are unable to find the service or product they want.

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