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'Leading retailers are basket cases when it comes to online checkout,' finds new study

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A study into the performance of top European retailers' shopping baskets by Logan Tod has produced an overall average score of 34%. The research rated thirty top retailers' overall performance in 12 key categories and spanned multiple sectors including entertainment, fashion and consumer technology.

The evaluation criteria included examining whether the sites offered such key elements as product images, a list of recently viewed items, availability of products, security logos and 'continue shopping' links displayed less prominently than the 'checkout' button.

Video games retailer Game tops the list with a score of 67%, with clothing store River Island finishing last due to its continued compulsory downloading of specific Flash files. John Lewis (60%) and Amazon (53%) complete the top three whilst next highest are Apple, ebuyer and Littlewoods, all with 47%.

At the other end of the spectrum, market giants such as PC World (20%), O2 (13%) and Ikea (13%) brought up the rear.

Although the majority of sites have web analytics present, and product images displayed, other basics are still missing in many cases, says Logan Tod. For instance, 40% of the websites do not have 'persistent' baskets lasting more than just a few hours if at all, while confirmation of availability and handling/delivery costs (rated the most important feature by customers when buying from a site) are present in only 33% of the sites. Even 'recently viewed items,' displayed on other pages such as product listings on many sites, is absent in all but three cases.

"The low scores from these e-commerce leaders are quite surprising, especially when you consider the sums of money involved in setting up and running their websites," says Matthew Tod, chief executive at Logan Tod. "Retailers need to be acutely aware of how their baskets are performing and the effect it is having on their online sales."

"The shopping basket is the start of the checkout process and a key area for retailers to deliver an outstanding customer experience. If I had the choice to change only one thing on any website to optimise success this Christmas, it would be the basket page," Tod concludes.
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