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Study highlights pros and cons of pure plays vs multichannel retailers

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The latest e-retail Benchmark Study from eDigitalResearch has found that pure play and multichannel retailers can learn important lessons from each other, with pure play continuing to provide a strong online experience whilst multichannel retailers score highly with offline activities such as supporting telephone and email communications.

The index has been tracking e-retail performance for the past nine years and saw four of the top five performing sites belong to pure play e-retailers., Amazon and Asos claimed the top three slots, thanks to their superior online performance. However, the importance of supporting email and telephone communications saw Waitrose claim the fifth spot, jumping from 11th position since last Christmas and the only traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ retailer in the top five.

“This is an interesting top five,” says eDigitalResearch director Chris Russell. “Pure players have scored highly as their entire business is focused online; they have adopted strategies and SEO marketing to ensure strong search, homepage and the processes right through to the checkout. However, they start to fall short in supporting email and phone communications, showing they have struggled to keep up with customer email queries.”

“We have identified the importance of supporting telephone and email communications in previous indexes and Waitrose reinforces this point, by scoring highly and claiming a top position. Often with increased transactions, this can become secondary; meaning that despite increased sales, there will not be an increase in brand loyalty from the customer if they did not receive a good purchase experience. It is great to see that overall, retailers are switching onto this and responding quickly and flexibly with strong search, delivery and supporting communications, but his last part of the customer journey is vital in terms of gaining long-term brand advocacy.”

The eDigitalResearch study uses eMysteryShoppers in order to evaluate 39 of the most popular shopping websites in the UK and gain insight into the end-to-end customer experience, as well as understanding what drives customer loyalty and brand advocacy.

You can get a copy of the full Benchmark study free of charge from the eDigitalResearch website.

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