Epi Digital Highs for Amazon, M & S and House of Fraser

EPiServer  have just released their study Benchmarking the Digital High Street UK Ecommerce Performance Index 2012 . It consists of a consumer survey, conducted by OnePoll  in July 2012 of 1,000 UK consumers and a retail benchmark study conducted by EPiServer in July-August 2012.

The objective:

“We conducted consumer research to gauge the expectations of online shoppers and identify the make-or-break factors for consumers parting with their money online. We then took these findings and assessed the websites of 25 of the UK’s top retailers against our best practice benchmark, to see just how many are meeting the expectations of today’s web-savvy consumer.”

The result:

  1. Amazon – 73%
  2. Marks & Spencer – 70%
  3. House of Fraser  – 66%
  4. ASOS – 65%
  5. Argos– 65%

A conclusion:

“Amazon, the retailer that scored the highest overall, is a great example of how taking care of every stage can deliver a superior customer experience and this will ultimately support increased conversions and sale values”.

So, in our terms, what do online shoppers need to make them go to, and buy from, a website, and likely return to it for subsequent purchases?

EPiServer, by and large, think it’s a balance of the overall Website experience, Browsing stage, Buying stage and Aftersales experience.

In addition to the winners in these categories we’ve tabulated the Top 5 Consumer expectations v’s Retailers delivery, showing the greatest excesses and shortfalls by retailers.

Interestingly Apple overall is ranked 21st amongst the 25 reviewed retailers which may not please them!

The big turnoffs that may make a customer abandon a purchase are :

  1. Hidden delivery costs
  2. Complicated/lengthy checkout process
  3. Slow website
  4. Lack of product information
  5. Compulsory account registration

Excellent study overall with lots of best practice tips and much more to help, we think, all online retailers.  Well worth downloading in return for your email address – but no Compulsory account registration required!

Epi per Wikipedia 

Overall Survey/Study Methodology

“In order to assess how the UK’s top retailers were faring against consumer expectations, we combined the following two studies:

  1. Consumer survey on attitudes to buying online
  2. Retail benchmark study

For the consumer study we surveyed over 1,000 people in the UK about their views on:

  • The features that are important to an online shopping experience when visiting an e-commerce site
  • The features that are important to the online shopping experience when researching a product on an e-commerce site
  • The features that are important to the online shopping experience when purchasing a product on an e-commerce site
  • The top three most important elements that contribute to a positive online purchasing experience

In the benchmark study, we selected 25 of the top UK retailers from the Hitwise Top 50 Hot Shops list and assessed them against the four e-commerce areas explored in the consumer research: the overall web experience, browsing, buying and after-sales. We scored each retailer using a range of criteria for an in-depth assessment of the e-commerce experience they offer consumers. The total points available to each retailer was 600 and each was awarded a score out of 100%.

The scoring was based on four main categories, as follows:

Overall website experience:

  • Does it offer a wide range of customer service options?
  • Was a loyalty scheme publicised on the site?
  • Does it enable the sharing of products/links via social media?
  • Does the retailer offer value added content such as articles or blog posts?


  • Does the site display good quality product pictures? Are they zoomable or rotable?
  • Is it easy to search for products?
  • Does the retailer enable product comparisons?
  • Does it give consumers the option to create a wish list?


  • How quick was the checkout process?
  • Does it have clearly displayed shipping costs and or return policies?
  • Does the retailer offer free shipping?
  • Does it offer consumers the opportunity to claim discounts or vouchers?

 After sales:

  • Does the retailer send an email confirmation of order placement?
  • Does the company notify consumers when dispatching items?
  • Does the site offer online tracking

* Each website in the benchmark study was analysed in July-August 2012. A weighting has been applied to the scores achieved by each retailer to award each one an overall score out of 600.

 * The commerce consumer study was conducted in July 2012. The results of answers to the questions were translated into percentage values.


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