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Meeting consumer expectations

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Meeting consumer expectations
Meeting consumer expectations

Top European retailers offer high levels of service across channels

RETAILERS STAND OUT in The Customer Performance Dimension when they focus on the shopper experience to deliver consistent and responsive service across communication channels time and time again. At a time when what the customer wants is moving to the centre of the shopping experience, retailers that stand out in this Dimension are doing all they can to reflect the wide-ranging demands of consumers.

What leading retailers do



Fashion retailer Matalan stands out for the breadth of its customer service. It communicates with customers across 10 channels, including six social channels (Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram). It resolved issues effectively and responded to simple Facebook enquiries in an hour.

Trade supplier Screwfix  gave effective customer service. It also stood out in InternetRetailing research for making the returns process easy and convenient for customers, including return of ecommerce orders to store, as well as for its product reviews. The retailer enables shoppers to connect with it across eight channels, including its busy community forum as well as YouTube, where it offers a wide range of video content such as product recommendations and demonstrations.

UK department store House of Fraser  stood out for effective and responsive customer service, with questions answered in 24 minutes. It also has a policy of fully refunding returned goods as well as in-depth product reviews on its mobile app.

Polish books, film and music retailer Empik.com wins its place for comprehensive use of product reviews and ratings across its mobile app and desktop site. Electronics and home appliances retailer RTV Euro AGD, more commonly known in Poland simply as Euro, stood out for its 3.1-second desktop website loading time, which is faster than the average for Poland of 6.8 seconds. Euro is also notable for its seven communication channels, including five social media channels, telephone and a web submission form through which shoppers can communicate with the company.

Dutch online department store Bol.com stands out for its comprehensive product ratings and reviews, while Swedish hardware business Clas Ohlson engages with shoppers across seven channels, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It also makes it easy for shoppers both to find products through effective navigation, and to discover more about them through reviews and ratings.

Spanish department store El Corte Inglés supports six social channels, with its returns policy for online orders allowing customers to use drop-off points and stores.

What the Top500 do



Leading European traders in this Dimension answer customer queries across a wide range of channels. Top500 retailers engage with customers through an average of four to five channels and a median of four, with those channels typically including email, telephone, web submission forms and social media. But while leading retailers stand out for high levels of service via email, Facebook and phone, the average Top500 service is less impressive. Retailers take a median of 19 hours to respond to a customer email but half an hour to respond to a Facebook query, with phone queries resolved in a median of 90 seconds.

Around half of Top500 retailers inform potential customers through the use of ratings and reviews. The median Top500 retailer takes 14 days to process returns

Varying approaches between markets

British retailers tend to offer more choice when it comes to engaging with customers. On average, they offer between four and five ways for shoppers to get in touch, followed by retailers in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, which all offer between three and four country-localised communication channels.

Retailers trading in Latvia offered markedly speedy websites. Desktop sites in this market were visually complete in an average of 5.7 seconds, followed by Belgium (6.8 seconds). Latvian mobile sites were visually complete in 4.5 seconds, followed by Lithuania at 4.8 seconds.

The amount of product information shared varies. Product ratings are deployed by more than half of retailers trading in Hungary (54%), the UK and Norway (51%), but less than a third (30%) in Greece. Product reviews are more available on websites in Hungary (54%), the UK (53%) and Poland (52%), and less available in Portugal (34%) and Romania (35%). Reviews on a mobile app are slightly less common, being offered by 45% of Irish retailers, 41% of Austrian retailers and 34% of British retailers.

Norwegian retailers offer an average of 32 days to return unwanted goods, while Spanish retailers offer 28 days.

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