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The Customer

Speed and relevance 

Customers expect offers tailored to their needs and responsiveness. Retailers need to respond – and to initiate conversations too.

Great customer experience has become about personalisation – talking to customers as individuals. The challenge for retailers is to do this at scale. RetailX research measured which companies best achieve this within The Customer Dimension by looking at factors such as product availability, consistency, convenience and the cost of basic services such as delivery.

Moreover, the research includes the user experience of mobile and desktop websites, by measuring design and performance, as well as responsiveness and helpfulness across multiple customer service channels, the integration of feedback and reviews, plus the convenience of making a purchase, receiving and returning the goods.

Customer service

Shoppers expect a quick response to enquiries and, to take two key metrics here, the median response by Top250 retailers was:

  • 18 hours, 13 minutes to an email enquiry
  • 7 hours, 15 minutes to a Facebook enquiry

The more than 10-hour difference here can probably be greatly explained by the nature of email enquiries, which tend to be more detailed. Less easy to explain so simply is the difference between sectors. For example, while retailers in the sports and outdoor equipment sector answer emails in 9h 57m (the quickest) and Facebook queries in 5h 54m, those in fashion clothing manage only 22h 23m for emails and 7h 18m for Facebook messages. Retailers in the cosmetics sector are fastest to answer Facebook queries, with a median of 5h 31m.

Finally, looking at returns, the median policy for unwanted items in Australia is 30 days.

Customer feedback

Giving customers the chance to offer publicly accessible feedback is a simple but powerful way to improve the customer experience. Of the Top250, 58% of all retailers and 43% of brands enable user-generated ratings on product pages. Books, stationary and craft retailers perform best here (100%), while there was scope for improvement even in the case of comparatively high-performing sectors such as fashion footwear (39%).

Website user experience

If websites don’t load quickly, customers will go elsewhere. The median time for the desktop sites of Top250 retailers to become visually complete is 12s. The equivalent figure for mobile sites is 9.5s. Performance varies by sector, with cosmetics retailers achieving 7.6s for mobile sites and software vendors 10.5s for desktop performance.

In terms of website sizes, the average size is 1.9MB for mobile sites and 3.1MB for desktop sites. The children’s toys and accessories sector (2.2MB, with sites taking 10.8s to be visually complete) shows a broad correlation between size and speed.

Top-performing companies in the Dimension

EB Games stands out for offering a combination of ease of navigation, a site that is fast to be visually complete, search relevance and a fast response time to enquiries.

Intriguingly, other top performers are stronger in other areas. Supercheap Auto, for instance, excels in offering product rating and reviews, and in search relevance.

Coles, Appliances Online and Victoria’s Secret also perform strongly in these areas.

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