British e-retailers fall short in checkout speed and delivery costs, a new poll finds.
Katie Evans , Senior Editor
Amazon.com has long been known for topping customer satisfaction charts in the U.S., and it also leads in the U.K., a new study finds.
Amazon.co.uk received a score of 73 on a scale of 100 in a new customer satisfaction report, giving it the No. 1 spot among the 25 e-commerce sites analyzed in the poll by e-commerce and m-commerce platform provider EPiServer.
Satisfaction scores were down across the retailer board when compared to last year, however. The average score for the 25 U.K. retailers was 58, down five points from last year’s average score of 63. The merchants in general scored lower marks because of slow checkout and consumer dissatisfaction with delivery costs, EPiServer says.
Second and third place after Amazon went to British department store chains Marks & Spencer and House of Fraser with scores of 70 and 66 respectively. Apparel site Asos and home and general merchandise site Argos tied for the next spot at 65.
The vendor polled 1,000 U.K. consumers on their online shopping expectations for the study, and then analyzed the 25 large U.K. online retailers to see how well they delivered on those expectations.
The retailers were scored in four areas: overall web site experience, browsing, buying, and after-sales (such as follow up, service and communication after a consumer buys). The study noted that Amazon registered similar scores for each of the areas (75; 76; 64; and 77 respectively). This demonstrates that Amazon has carefully considered the entire online shopping journey, the study says.
“We’ve seen some great examples of web sites delivering excellent service in particular areas, but very few are scoring well at all stages of the online shopping journey,” says David Bowen, product manager for EPiServer. “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.”
While the overall average scores were down on last year, the top five performers achieved an average score of 68, which is a slight improvement on last year and suggests that the biggest players are keeping up with online shoppers’ demands.
The biggest disconnect between consumer expectations and retailer performance was checkout speed, which was one of the top three consumer expectations. Retailers scored an average of 58 against the best practice benchmark, EPiServer says. Retailers also scored low marks in delivery, as 90% of consumers said they wanted free delivery, but only one in five of the retailers assessed by EPiServer offered it.
However, retailers scored higher marks for communication, which was also important to online shoppers. Most retailers sent an e-mail notifying a consumer of her purchase; however, one in three did not send a message when they package shipped.
“Many retailers have fallen down at different points, so there’s no single point of concern across the board,” Bowen says. “Our findings highlight areas where even the U.K.’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.”
Back on the other side of the pond in the U.S., Amazon is getting top marks by customers as well. Amazon received the No. 1 ranking in customer satisfaction for mobile sites with an 84 out of a possible 100 in a recent poll by ForeSee. It also retained the top spot in a February report by the same company of customer satisfaction with the top 100 U.S. e-commerce sites, nabbing score of 86 out of 100. And another 2012 U.S. study of the customer service e-retailers provide by the National Retailer Federation also places Amazon at the top of the heap.
Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Europe 400 Guide Marks & Spencer is No. 19; House of Fraser, 100; Asos, 39; and Agros 6. Other retailers polled include: Apple Inc., No. 8; Next, 15; Homebase, 6; IKEA, 126; H&M, 67 and Boots, 159.