E- Retailers Deserve their Bumper Christmas Sales as Research Shows They Provided the Best Online Customer Journey Ever

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Following a bumper Christmas, where consumers increased their online spending by 14.3% compared to Christmas 2007*, the UK's leading study for e-retail benchmarking has identified that e-retailers deserve a well-earned 'pat on the back' for the service they provided. The latest e-retail benchmark study from eDigitalResearch demonstrates that online retailers took advantage of opportunities and improved their e-commerce capacity across the vast majority of key aspects of the online journey.

The results of eDigitalResearch's latest e-retail index highlight that the obvious provision of strong online services including search, delivery, clear homepage content, product ranges and customer service contact has ensured that e-retailers are continuing to be flexible and responsive to a competitive online environment. The study also identifies that pure play and multichannel retailers can take 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.

"We believe this research is the only one of its kind and is the most conclusive historic study into e-retail," comments Michelle Fuller, Director of eDigitalResearch. "Its advantages are that it charts e-retail right from its emergence into consumer popularity in the late 1990's to its recent status as a primary route to market. No other e-retail benchmark research provider has been doing this as long as eDigitalResearch."

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. Play.com, 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," adds Director of eDigitalResearch, 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 tracking study commenced in 1999 and the latest issue was completed in December 2008 / January 2009. The 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. eMysteryShopper provides in-depth insight into website usability, functionality, supporting logistics and customer service - aiming to provide retailers with actionable customer insights in order to improve brand advocacy and in doing so improve the website return on investment.

To download a presentation containing the full leagues for the last study then please go to the link below:


*IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index, 2009

For further information, contact Vicky Wilson on 023 8021 5380

About eDigitalResearch
eDigitalResearch is a leading provider of digital market research, enabling customers' to make critical business decisions with the benefit of comprehensive consumer insight and informed direction. eDigitalResearch possesses a unique combination of research expertise, marketing background, web technology and knowledge of the cross-channel consumer. As well as providing invaluable research data, the modules of its fully integrated research system - ratings, surveys, panels and forums - can combine to provide holistic analytics and essential market-leading insight. This gives our clients the power, confidence and backup to make crucial decisions on key aspects of their business including product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain, even basic positioning. For further information, please visit: http://www.edigitalresearch.com


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