- Average score for top 25 UK retailers was a disappointing 58%, down 5% on 2011
- Retailers falling down on cumbersome checkout processes and delivery costs
London, UK, 2nd October 2012: Amazon UK, Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser have topped the UK Ecommerce Performance Index study by EPiServer, published today. The report, which scored 25 of the UK's top retailers' websites* against a detailed best practice benchmark, presents a disappointing average score of 58%, which is short of 2011's score of 63% and indicates that retailers are struggling to keep up with maturing consumer expectations.
The EPiServer report, entitled 'Benchmarking the Digital High Street: UK Ecommerce Performance Index 2012' is available to download. The study presents the findings of a survey of 1,000 consumers to gauge the expectations of online shoppers, which are then compared with the benchmark assessment of top UK retailers' websites to see just how many are meeting the expectations of today's web-savvy consumer.
David Bowen, Product Manager, EPiServer, commented, "The overall score of 58% is an indication that retailers are faring reasonably well, but also demonstrates that there is plenty of room for improvement and a real opportunity for savvy retailers to give themselves a significant competitive edge with just a few simple measures."
Whilst the overall average scores were down on last year, the top five performers achieved an average score of 68%, which is a slight (2%) improvement on last year and suggests that the biggest players are maintaining their efforts.
The top performing retailers were:
1. Amazon – 73%
2. Marks & Spencer – 70%
3. House of Fraser – 66%
4. ASOS – 65%
5. Argos – 65%
The biggest disconnect between consumer expectations and retailer performance was identified in the speed of checkout process, which was one of the top three consumer demands, where retailers scored an average of just 58% against the best practice benchmark. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the cost of delivery was also a bone of contention with nine out of ten of consumers prioritising free delivery options whilst an average of just one in five of the top retailers assessed by EPiServer offered this.
Communication is also very important to online shoppers and most retailers hit the mark by providing an email notification of purchase. However, one in three disappointed when it came to providing an email notification of dispatch.
The retailers were scored in four areas: overall website experience, browsing, buying, and after-sales. Amazon scored a fairly even spread of points in each of the four key areas (75%; 76%; 64%; and 77% respectively), which EPiServer suggests demonstrates that the company has carefully considered the entire online shopping journey and implemented best practice at every stage.
Bowen added, "We've seen some great examples of websites delivering excellent service in particular areas, but very few are scoring well at all stages of the online shopping journey. Many retailers have fallen down at different points too, so there's no single point of concern across the board. Amazon is a great example of how taking care of every stage can deliver a superior customer experience and this will ultimately support increased conversions and sale values.
"Our findings highlight areas where even the UK's top retailers are risking customer loyalty, extra revenue and market share by underestimating consumer expectations. Many of the problem areas could be fixed easily and at very little cost, and the full Digital High Street report includes practical advice and real-world examples to highlight simple measures where retailers could improve the user experience to keep customers spending."
*Selected from the Hitwise Top 50 Hot Shops list
The consumer survey was conducted by OnePoll in July 2012 and consulted 1,000 UK consumers. The results of answers to the questions were translated into percentage values.
The retail benchmark study was conducted by EPiServer in July-August 2012. A weighting has been applied to the scores achieved by each retailer to award each one an overall score out of 600.
The scoring was based on four main categories, as follows:
Overall website experience:
- Does it offer a wide range of customer service options?
- Was a loyalty scheme publicised on the site?
- Does it enable the sharing of products/links via social media?
- Does the retailer offer value added content such as articles or blog posts?
- Does the site display good quality product pictures? Are they zoomable or rotable?
- Is it easy to search for products?
- Does the retailer enable product comparisons?
- Does it give consumers the option to create a wish list?
- How quick was the checkout process?
- Does it have clearly displayed shipping costs and or return policies?
- Does the retailer offer free shipping?
- Does it offer consumers the opportunity to claim discounts or vouchers?
- Does the retailer send an email confirmation of order placement?
- Does the company notify consumers when dispatching items?
- Does the site offer online tracking?
For more information:
VP of Marketing Europe
EPiServer connects ecommerce and digital marketing to help business create unique customer experiences which generates business results. EPiServer's platform combines content, e-commerce and multi-channel marketing capabilities to work full-circle for businesses online, from intelligent optimization, lead-generation through to conversion and repeat business.
Sitting at the centre of the digital marketing ecosystem, EPiServer empowers online and IT professionals to create superior customer experience for more than 20,000 websites worldwide. Built on .net, and supported by a pioneering partner network of over 630 partners in over 30 countries, EPiServers platform gives customers the ability to deliver the right content to the right person in the right format at a time that suits them. This approach means customers can maximize their investment in digital marketing and increase ROI. The company was founded in 1994 and has offices in the United States, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, The Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Spain, UAE and the United Kingdom. EPiServer is controlled by the IK2007 Fund. IK Investment Partners is a European private equity firm with Nordic roots, managing €5.7 billion in fund commitments.