August 7, 2006, 12:00 AM

Cabela’s is the leader in online shopping experiences, Cisco says

Cabelas.com offers the best shopping experience among 20 major U.S. retail sites, edging out Best Buy, Costco, Target and Wal-Mart, according to a benchmark study released by Cisco System’s Internet Business Solutions Group.

Cabelas.com offers the best shopping experience among 20 major U.S. retail sites, edging out Best Buy, Costco, Target and Wal-Mart, according to a benchmark study released by Cisco System’s Internet Business Solutions Group.

Included in the study were the top 10 U.S. web retailers (by revenue) in 2004, several leading big-box and discount retailers. Cisco purchased items on each site to compare back-end processes.

Cisco selected Cabela’s as the “clear leader” because it had a strong online look, feel and brand image consistent with store and catalog experiences. The outdoors equipment retailer also performed well in back office processes such as shipping and returns, and provided rich, dynamic information that gave shoppers visibility into the store inventory, Cisco said.

Among the 20 sites, Cabela’s, Best Buy, Amazon.com, REI.com and Sears excelled in “must have” capabilities such as ease of use and transactional functions, including personalization, free content and interaction. “These e-commerce experts are moving beyond ease of use to create a much more compelling customer experience online, offering extensive company and third-party content to inform the purchase decision and enhance the shopping experience,” Cisco said.

All the top 20 sites are cross-selling and up-selling by proactively suggesting items, 81% actively solicit customer feedback at multiple points, 57% have gift registries or wish lists, and 57% allow users to order online and pick up at the store.

In the area of emerging capabilities, 67% of the sites allowed consumers to shop all or part of the site in at least two languages and 67% offered suggested services, such as product installation. 52% use online video to help sell products or services or to enrich the user’s experience, Cisco said.

In addition, 48% allowed shoppers to compare prices online, 48% provided some level of visibility into store inventory availability, 48% provided user-driven product customization or visualization, 43% allowed customers to shop with a friend or e-mail product information from the site directly to a friend, 33% allowed users to post and view customer reviews; and 28% provided click-to-chat or click-to-talk options, Cisco said.

Other sites studied included Blue Nile, CDW, Dell, JCPenney, HPShopping, Home Depot, Netflix, Newegg, Office Depot, QVC, Sears, Sony Style, and Staples.

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