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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

JD Sports Takes top spot in latest eRetail Benchmark Study

Tuesday June 1 2010

Market researcher, eDigitalResearch finds the battle between pureplay online retailers and those that have extended their traditional, High Street offerings continues apace

Market researcher, eDigitalResearch finds the battle between pureplay online retailers and those that have extended their traditional, High Street offerings continues apace


The latest eRetail Benchmark study from eDigitalResearch reveals that ‘clicks-and-mortar’ retailers continue to deliver a more consistent performance across all touchpoints on the online customer journey than their pureplay rivals, with six of them dominating the study’s top ten.


For the first time the study also included a review of the retailers mobile commerce platforms.


Now in its 11th year, the benchmark study which uses a panel of mystery shoppers to evaluate 49 leading UK retail websites for usability and customer service performance revealed that JD Sports was the top overall performer, delivering a consistently strong performance for both front and back end systems.


Sports retailer rates feedback


The leading sports fashion retailer received particular praise for its product details, checkout process and on the strength of customer contact, including a helpful text messaging service detailing exact delivery times.


Commenting on the sports fashion retailer’s top ranking in the study, Mick Peek, head of e-commerce at JD Sports, said: “We are really pleased that our site has been recognised as a market leader in this study. Everyone at JD Sports recognises that the customer is the most important person in the business.


“That is why we work hard to continually listen to our customers, using a combination of direct contact, social media and our own surveys so that we can react quickly to their feedback and improve the site operationally to ensure we continually exceed their expectations. This approach pays dividends for us, so it’s only natural that we will be paying particular attention to the areas where the study suggests there is room for improvement.”


High Street continues to dominate


Other established High Street outlets that scored highly across the board to secure a place in the top ten include Marks and Spencer (M&S), John Lewis, Next, House of Fraser and HMV. The only pureplay retailers to join them were Amazon, Figleaves and Woolworths, along with catalogue and online retailer Kays.


Across the industry, retail websites achieved their highest ratings for search and navigation, with M&S and New Look coming top in each category, respectively. However, although overall this area performed well, there were still areas of frustration for surveyors, ranging from irrelevant search results to filtering issues.


The key underperforming area was email customer contact, which is primarily driven by speed of response. Pureplay retailers Amazon, Ocado and Asos dominated the top three in terms of time taken to respond, with PC World trailing in 49th place.


The research indicates that customer expectations in terms of email response times are 24 hours. With retailers such as Asos now promising a reply within one business hour, it is likely that customer contact strategies will become a key area the industry will be forced to address in order to keep up with the ever increasing pace of expected response.


Brand reputation proves key


Michelle Fuller, co-founder and director of eDigitalResearch commented: “Yet again, our study illustrates that the resource and investment traditional brands put into customer contact and pays huge dividends in overall customer satisfaction.


“When customers shop online, the very least they expect is a simple, straightforward and easy-to-use experience, from clear navigation to detailed product information, good customer service and accurate delivery information. The smart retailers are those who recognise that they need to exceed customer expectations and so sites such as JD Sports and M&S, who continually revise and improve site functionality, will always reign supreme with the consumer.”


Established in 2000, the eRetail Benchmark study uses eDigitalResearch’s unique eMysteryShopper tool to evaluate website usability 49 top performing UK retail websites.


Retailers are benchmarked by an internet panel of surveyors across 200 qualitative and quantitative measures from home page first impressions to order fulfilment and customer service contact.