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Online retailers largely ignoring blogs and social bookmarking

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Hitting The Checkout, a survey from ecommerce solution provider Dotcommerce, assessed 20 of the leading UK-based retailers and found that, while most have the basics of ecommerce covered, the majority are failing to embrace added-value content such as blogs, videos, user-generated content or social media links.

Less than half (45%) offered any kind of editorial material beyond basic product descriptions and just 10% allowed users to submit comments or product reviews. Only 15% incorporated a blog, a tool known to be valuable for improving customer engagement and search rankings.

Half of the retailers surveyed used video content, but only 25% included social bookmarking links on their pages.

On the positive side, the 20 retailers all scored high marks for their customer support options, and FAQs and searchable knowledge bases were commonplace. The researchers also found that most had paid careful attention to the overall design and layout of the website with good product pages structure, engaging product images and coherent checkout funnels.

Each site was evaluated against 26 criteria within seven categories — site content, design, product search, product pages, marketing, checkout and after sale — with each retailer awarded a score out of 100. Marks & Spencer (82%) and John Lewis (78%) topped the table while health and beauty retailers fared badly, with Vie At Home (62%), The Fragrance Shop (56%) and Avon (54%) languishing at the bottom. The average score was 68%.

Readers can download the full report free of charge from the Dotcommerce website.

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