Which web site features deliver most customer satisfaction?
Two new companion studies from Keynote Systems reveal that while online retailers generally deliver a positive customer experience, many retailer web sites suffer long load times and falter during the final purchase process.
The two studies, the 'Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Retail Web Sites' and the 'Keynote Service Level Rankings for Retail Web Sites', indicate that retailers who deliver detailed product information and graphics, organisation and navigation, price satisfaction and search capabilities provide the best experience that meets customer expectations. In addition, while retail web sites are among the most reliable in the online industry, at times they lack optimal speed and reliability.
The studies evaluated the web sites of the following online shopping sites (but not all of which were included in both studies): Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, BUY.com, Circuit City, Costco, Dell, Crate and Barrel, eBay, Eddie Bauer, Gap, JCPenney, L.L. Bean, Macy's, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Overstock.com, Staples, Target, Wal-Mart, Williams-Sonoma, and Yahoo! Shopping.
Goods sites, bad faults According to Chris Loosley, general manager of service level business for Keynote: "The retail industry has succeeded in providing descriptive product web sites, but their transaction performance falls short of expectations. It was surprising to find that several of the sites had major load related issues, a result of detailed page designs, and did not easily facilitate the checkout process. These are critical flaws that can greatly impact customer loyalty. To compete, retailers need to improve their ability to manage both customer experience and service level performance."
Best service levels Williams-Sonoma, Wal-Mart and Eddie Bauer were the three best performing sites reported by Keynote's service level rankings. Superior network connectivity and the most consistent response times helped Williams-Sonoma lead the rankings. Wal-Mart lead in the load handling index with almost no slowdown as user load increased, indicating the site is well-built to handle heavy future load. No single site dominated the study's findings.
Keynote found that many of the sites evaluated reported significant outage hours. In addition, the study showed that the critical checkout process is the least reliable online shopping activity. The online retail industry appears to be sacrificing speed and reliability to provide visually appealing Web pages.
Best experiences Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and L.L. Bean were the three best performing sites reported by Keynote's customer experience rankings. Amazon.com stood out due to strong visual appeal, easy purchase process, search and product research. In addition to price satisfaction and eye-catching graphics, ease of use and convenience are the primary drivers for online shopping. Consumers are more likely to conduct a transaction if a site meets these needs.
Barnes & Noble continues to lead the retail industry in its ability to generate interest in its products and in providing strong search capabilities, and also leapt to the top of the industry in terms of delivering leading product research functions. The site also showed considerable improvement in the ease of use of its purchase process. L.L. Bean was the leader in terms of ease of use of the purchase process, and was also a leader in the search category.
The studies The studies can be purchased directly from Keynote Systems:· Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Retail Web Sites · Keynote Service Level Rankings for Retail Web Sites