Future Now, Inc. recently conducted a study of 300 top online retailers on 69 different usability and customer experience factors. The results suggest that eTailers have plenty of room for improvement — with the top scoring website SmartBargains.com earning only 67 out of a possible 100 points. The average score was 43.
A few of the study’s findings:
- Enlarge Image Feature – used by 76% of sites
- Estimated Delivery – 74% of sites
- Gift Cards – used by 58%
- Timely and Accurate E-Mail Support – 58% responded correctly within 24 hours
- Free Shipping – 43%
- Pre-Checkout Shipping Calculation – found on 42% of sites
- In Stock Availability – used by 39% (Especially important over the holidays)
- Poor Fonts – 38% had fonts that are difficult to read – either too small or not web-friendly
- Multiple Image Views – 38% offered this feature
- More Than 4 Steps in Checkout – 35% of sites
- Customer Reviews – 33% of sites
- In-Store Pick Up – 10% of sites that have local stores
- Mulitple Payment Options – 10-20% offer one or more options like PayPal, Google Checkout, pay by check or Bill Me Later
The poorest category is Fashion:
Top 10 Performers
- 1. SmartBargains.com, 67
- 2. BestBuy.com, 66
- 3. Compactappliance.com, 66
- 4. BlueNile, 65
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- 5. EasternMountainSport, 64
- 6. BackCountry.com, 63
- 7. TigerDirect.com, 63
- 8. CDUniverse.com, 63
- 9. Ebags.com, 63
- 10. Staples.com, 63
So the moral of this story is that most if not all ecommerce websites can do something to improve user experience or customer focus. Here are some excellent checklists for ecommerce optimization:
Ecommerce Optimization lists 21 Shopping Cart Usability Best Practices.
Justin Palmer’s 25 Ways Series has 200 tips on ecommerce optimization including holiday marketing, product pages, SEO, email marketing and customer service.
These folks also offer ecommerce optimization consulting if you need a hand.