Which? has published its annual survey of the best and worst ecommerce websites in the UK and, while there are no surprises at the bottom, there are some interesting new players topping the list.
First, those on the naughty step: at 100 on the list, Homebase came last – as it has done in the previous two years – with customers bemoaning its bad design and poor stock availability. Fellow DIY chain B&Q came 99th.
Zara, Sports Direct and House of Fraser all came in the bottom ten, along with Matalan, Evans and GoOutdoors.
At the other end of the list, however, are a surprising run of smaller retailers and brands, some of which are not that well-known.
While John Lewis and Dyson stay in the top 10, top spot is shared by three relative unknowns: Liz Earle, RicherSounds and WexPhotoVideo.com.
According to a Which? spokesperson: “Once again LizEarle.com has topped our table of online retailers, but this time the natural beauty brand shares the winning spot with RicherSounds.com and lesser-known WexPhotoVideo.com. Liz Earle was founded by two beauty experts in the mid-90s and has since become a perennial favourite with shoppers. Which? members told us they rated its products and fast delivery.”
They continue: “Specialising in audio equipment, Richer Sounds regularly tops both our online and in-store shopping survey results. It’s even Which? Retailer of the Year 2019.
“And it might not be a household name, but WexPhotoVideo’s huge range of more than 20,000 pieces of specialist camera kit certainly keeps its customers happy. Shoppers praised Wex’s live chat and email service, with one saying: ‘I emailed and asked their advice before ordering. They were very helpful and gave me an unbiased comparison’.”
Four other online retailers were hot on the winners’ heels: AllBeauty.com – which sells beauty products and fragrances – tools and machinery specialist Axminster.co.uk, department store JohnLewis.com and Rohan.co.uk, an outdoor clothing specialist, each scored 90%.
The final three in the top 10 all sell specialist items, too. Abebooks.co.uk, ChainReactionCycles.com and Dyson.co.uk each scored 89%.
Commenting on the survey results, Michael Schirrmacher, Managing Director at Bloomreach, says: “Online shopping continues to grow faster than in-store sales and is expected to account for over 50% of all shopping within 10 years. With this in mind, smart retailers will be doing all they can to ensure their online customer experience offering is perfect. From these results, it is evident that a lot of UK retailers understand this and are making great strides to offering a world-class eCommerce experience that keeps their customers coming back for more.”
He continues: “Obviously, the digital footprint of many retailers is wide and varied, so those struggling should prioritise high traffic pages. Those invariably fit into three groups – the homepage, search results, and category pages. Customers usually want three things when making a purchase online: fool proof search, personalised assortments and personalised content. The great news is that there are technologies that can intelligently understand your customer’s intent, and deliver tailored content and smart results according to interest. Getting this right could be the difference between thriving or fading through this difficult environment, so now is the time for action.”
“Decline in footfall and desktop traffic and a spike in mobile use all mean that brands must build digital journeys that are worthy enough to sit at the heart of their brand, he adds. “Consumer expectation continue to grow and evolve, and brands need to be able to guide their online journeys proactively and in real time.”