Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Usability flaws could cost Retailers £100m this Xmas

Lack of usability results in reduced profits ...

"Whilst online sales revenue from the Christmas shopping period this year is predicted to top £10bn, the UK's leading names in retail risk losing substantial revenues due to sliding standards of their online sales channels, according to a new study.

Webcredible's annual benchmark study of online customer experience, The Online High Street, indicates that 50% of the UK's best known high street names offer a poorer standard of online service to customers than the same period last year. Overall, 55% of the retailers assessed dropped within the rankings compared to 2006 results. With an average usability score of only 57%, these retailers will doubtlessly be losing site visitors due to mistakes that could easily be avoided.

The most significant drops in usability were seen from Marks and Spencer who plummeted from a score last year of 81 out of 100 to just 55 and John Lewis who dropped nine points from 71 to 62. Basic rules of good usability are often being ignored, leading to increasing frustration amongst consumers trying to find, view and pay for merchandise. Hidden delivery costs, confusing check-out procedures and repeated error pages are contributing towards a poor customer experience online.

"High street retail sales growth is at its slowest rate since 1947, however, demand for internet shopping is at an all time high. You'd think that retailers would be investing in developing and improving the customer experience that they offer online, however a surprising trend this year shows that the quality of user experience is significantly down amongst last year's high fliers," comments Trenton Moss, director of Webcredible.

He continues, "The real leaders from last year, like Marks and Spencer and Boots, have dropped drastically in terms of scores and rankings - coming in towards the bottom of the group. Many of the retailers have undergone big redesign projects this year and these report findings indicate that they have focused more on the front end design rather than the customer experience."    (Continued via Usability News)    [Usability Resources]

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