May 1, 2012, 12:31 PM

Top e-retailers have site search and performance down pat …

… but they struggle with advanced personalization and mobile commerce.

Lead Photo

The largest e-retailers in North America do well with site search, enabling consumer access to past orders and other capabilities considered core to e-commerce sites, according to a new assessment conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLC of the top 100 e-retailers ranked in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. But those e-retailers still have work to do when it comes to more advanced or emerging functions, such as mobile commerce.

The Deloitte assessment encompasses retailers with 2010 online sales ranging from approximately $182.0 million, in the case of No. 100-ranked Etronics, to $34.2 billion for No. 1-ranked Inc. Deloitte evaluated the e-retailers based on 142 consumer-facing e-commerce functions, such as user experience and personalization and payments and customer service. The consulting firm then assigned each e-retailer a score that reflected its maturity level in each function.

Deloitte concluded that e-retailers have reached maturity in their delivery of search and select features, and in site performance, where 80% of the evaluated retailers had quick page load times and overall good performance. The report is light on specifics, and Deloitte does not say what constitutes a quick load time, nor does it call out specific merchants in its analysis.

Top e-retailers, however, still have room to improve the mobile shopping and personalized experiences they provide consumers. Deloitte says e-retailers’ capabilities in mobile commerce showed gains from the analysis the firm performed a year ago, but not all e-retailers are developing their mobile capabilities at the same rate. “The maturity of retailers in mobile commerce is split among those with advanced capabilities and those with almost no mobile or tablet commerce capabilities,” Deloitte says in the report. It says general merchandise, specialty apparel, hardware and jewelry/beauty retailers have the most advanced mobile presences; mainstream apparel retailers are the least advanced when it comes to mobile.

Top e-retailers also have room to improve on personalization. Deloitte’s analysis says 73 merchants offer limited personalized content, such as a welcome message to a returning consumer, but only a handful have advanced personalization capabilities, such as incorporating prior purchase or search behavior data into recommendations. It says general merchandise, books and media, and office supply merchants offer the most personalization capabilities.

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