Asos tops e-tail UX ranking, Harrods near bottom

Asos has topped a league table of website usability but luxury department store Harrods has come close to the bottom of the Summit 2018 Scorecard, which ranks the top 50 retailers (measured by annual revenue) operating online in the UK.

Asos's success is underscored by the usability of its website

Asos scored an impressive 75% for customer experience, followed closely by Asda on 74% and Argos on 71%. Meanwhile Next, Amazon and Boots shared fifth place with a 69% score.

Aldo scoring 60-something percent were big names M&S, New Look, Sainsbury’s, Very , Dorothy Perkins, Zara, H&M, Debenhams, John Lewis, JD Williams, and JD Sport.

But at the opposite end of the list, some of Britain’s biggest names scored more poorly. Clearly consumers are unhappy about their experience when buying interiors product. Sofas specialist DFS was bottom on 42% with homewares retailer The range on 47% and discounter Home Bargains on 51%. Ikea scored only 56%. 

WH Smith was in the bottom five and scored 53% and the lowest scoring fashion and beauty name was Harrods on 55%. Jacamo, River Island, Evans and Topshop also came in the 50-something half of the table.

The percentages were arrived at by judging each retailer on 280 criteria across four business areas. Summit looked at the overall performance and usability of the retailer’s websites; their online marketing, including search and social media; the content of their websites including product presentation and payment options; and the logistics back-up that sees how happy the experience of actually accessing the products is for customers. The researchers also added in a mystery shopper experience to see how good customer service was.

All of this offered up some worrying insights even for those not at the bottom of ranking with Summit saying that 56% of retailers saw issues around their own brand searches and 70% still having inadequate site speeds. That’s a worrying development given that when a site takes three seconds or more to load, 32% of consumers will go elsewhere.

Other criticisms included the information available about products on many websites. Summit said that half of sites offered fewer than four images of each product while just as many gave inadequate information on sizing. In fact, around 10% had no size guide.

More than half (52%) couldn’t adapt to search terms when the shopper misspelt them, potentially losing sales as a result.

Summit’s Ben Latham said this level of poor experience is even more of a problem now than a few years ago given that consumers expect a better experience than ever because of their awareness of just what technology can do for them.

He also said it underlines the need for continual digital investment and while many retailers put off incremental improvements until they can wrap them into a larger project, this is a mistake.

“Simply increasing the size of a product image can increase the conversion rate by 9%,” he said. “Likewise, not using their website to cross- and up-sell means that the industry as a whole is missing out on £350 million a year.”

And bizarrely, he also said that when the company tested customer service using mystery shoppers, they were often left with free products. “Retailers hadn’t factored in the cost of return, and found it more economical to provide refunds without collecting the products we were trying to return,” he said.

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