Spelling errors cost millions in internet sales

| 14/07/2011

(BBC): An online entrepreneur says that poor spelling is costing the UK millions of pounds in lost revenue for internet businesses. Charles Duncombe says an analysis of website figures shows a single spelling mistake can cut online sales in half. 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.

Duncombe, who runs travel, mobile phones and clothing websites, says that poor spelling is a serious problem for the online economy.

"Often these cutting-edge companies depend upon old-fashioned skills," says Duncombe. And he says that the struggle to recruit enough staff who can spell means that this sector of the economy is not as efficient as it might be.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics published last month showed internet sales in the UK running at £527m per week.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Hmmmm says:

    It's not thatpeople don't like spelling errors. It's really that if a business can't do something as simple as proofreading their own work, how can a client trust them to be careful with the work the client needs done. If they can't be trusted with their own small matters, why should I trust them with my important matters???

  2. IT JEFE says:

    This is a constant problem with publishing all over the world. There is a program called Spell Check Anywhere that can resolve this.

    Compass should pay attention. Also hitting f7 in Word creates astounding results. It kicks start this little 16 year old trick. Yea MS Word Spell Check has been available that long.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let this be a lesson to businesses and education too – most people don't like poor spelling and would rather go to someone who can get their spelling and grammar right first time around!