Navigating the UK supermarkets’ websites can be a testing experience, according to the latest e-Performance Observatory Online Food and Grocery Shopping study from usability specialist YUSEO.
Only 51% of those set a series of tasks to achieve on six supermarkets' websites were successful, while users were on average less likely to use all of the supermarkets after completing the tasks.
More than 1,000 internet users took part in its usability research, which measured the live customer navigation experience across six online supermarkets: Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Ocado and Natoora.
They were asked to browse products to create a shopping list, order items using delivery methods including click and collect, and to find information relating to the supermarket’s policy on damaged products and to its quality processes for delivering fresh and frozen goods.
Just over half of those taking part found the task of finding goods a straightforward one – with only 51% successfully completing the task. On average, users gave the experiences across the websites a user satisfaction score of 6 out of 10, with just 25% positive about the experience, 45% neutral and 30% negative.
The testers taking part in the research were asked whether they were positive about each supermarket before and after they went through the set tasks. Asked beforehand, Tesco scored 69%, Sainsbury’s 54%, Asda 52%, Waitrose 43%, natoora 42%, and Ocado 35%. By the end of the process, Tesco had lost 10% of those positive votes, while Ocado was down by 12%, Asda down by 14%, Sainsbury’s down by 20%, Waitrose down by 30% and natoora by 52%.
Yuseo’s Jean-Pierre Le Borgne said: “I was expecting a slightly better result altogether, both on the navigation and the user satisfaction scores. The satisfaction score of six out of 10 is slightly disappointing, especially for brands of such a major position and image in the UK market.
“There isn’t a huge gap between the players, but if you look at those above the average and those below, I was surprised they were all visibly poor in terms of providing relatively poor access to the information we asked them to find during the course of the survey.”
Asda scored well on the logic of its website organisation but poorly for a lack of available features, such as search and filters to make it easier to choose items. Natoora was rated for the ease of choosing products, but poorly for information about their availability. Ocado was rated for good product information but scored poorly for the logic of its website organisation, while Sainsbury’s rated highly for the way product availability was flagged up but poorly for the flexibility of its navigation. Tesco was rated for the ease of its checkout process, but its section pages were thought too overcrowded. Finally, Waitrose was rated for the unobtrusive manner in which it pushed promotions and products, but not for a “cumbersome checkout process.”
A screening phase of the research involved 11,000 internet users, all existing clients of the six websites. Asked what they liked most about the sites they used, 51% of Asda users cited the guaranteed best price, compared to 26% for Tesco, and 20% for Sainsbury’s and 12% for Ocado.
But Waitrose led the way when customers were asked about the quality of fresh products, a factor cited by 48%, compared to 47% for Ocado and 18% for Asda. Another key factor for many was that the site was simple to use – cited by 51% of Tesco and Sainsbury’s customers, 49% of Asda customers, 46% of Ocado customers and 42% of Waitrose customers.
Some 63% of Ocado shoppers and 69% of Waitrose users cited the customer service they were offered, compared to 47% for Asda, 52% for Sainsbury’s, and 38% for Tesco.
Finally, asked about Click and Collect services, 53% said this was not an issue for them in buying food online, while 28% said it would only be if it were free. Only 6% said it would be important if there were a small fee of up to £3, and 3% rated the service as long as they had wide-ranging pick-up times. Le Borgne said “It was interesting to see that Click and Collect doesn’t seem, from a client perspective, to give the edge that people believe it could.”