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Hititng The Checkout

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The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance

The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance

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  • 1. Part of the dotDigital Group PLC Hitting the Checkout The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance 20 best and worst, top brand ecommerce sites - exposed Over 130 best practice guidelines and tips 2009/10
  • 2. Contents Description Page Introduction 3 Methodology 4 Executive summary and results 5 Section 1. Website Content 6-11 Section 2. Website Design 12-15 Section 3. Product Search 16-17 Section 4. Product Page 18-22 Section 5. Marketing 23-28 Section 6. Checkout and Transaction Funnel 29-34 Section 7. After Sale 25-39 Conclusion 40 Appendix: Full Results 41 About dotCommerce 42 Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 2 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 3. Introduction Background The dotDigital Group PLC has a ten year history of working with big name brands to design and build ecommerce sites and websites and create email marketing campaigns that effectively convert visitors. Following the launch in 2009 of dotCommerce - the latest ecommerce platform from the dotDigital Group PLC, we set about researching and benchmarking the effectiveness of major UK ecommerce sites. The eye-opening findings of that research are presented here, in Hitting the Checkout. Who is the report for? Although this benchmarking study measures the activities of some of the UK’s largest retailers, the information and guidence provided in this report is relevant for businesses of all shapes and sizes who have the potential to make more money from online direct sales, in both B2C and B2B sectors. The internet widens the goalposts, allowing anyone to sell online with relative ease, and any online retailer and supplier can benefit from the advice and guidance set out in this report. Notes dotCommerce recognises that different retailers have varying objectives and requirements for their websites and differing experiences of the best ways to achieve these with their own target audience. This report analyses success factors on a general, best practice basis. The study represents a snapshot of certain key pages on the websites on 13th May 2009. It is acknowledged that the websites included may have changed since this date. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 3 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 4. Methodology The dotCommerce team analysed the websites of a sample of 20 of the UK’s leading online retailers.* A sample of five of the top retailers were selected from the following four categories: Department Store Entertainment Health & Beauty Electricals Argos Amazon.co.uk Boots Comet Tesco hmv.com lookfantastic .com Currys Marks and Spencer Play.com Vie at home Maplin Asda LoveFilm.com The Fragrance Shop PC World John Lewis Game Avon Dixons The retailers were judged on seven key areas of ecommerce and against 24 criteria, based on best practice guidelines drawn up by the dotCommerce team. Each retailer was awarded a percentage score to indicate the effectiveness of their ecommerce site. The 24 criteria assessed were: Marketing Website Content Search engine marketing ‘Added value’ editorial content Sales promotion mechanisms Finding important information Data capture User generated content Social networking and viral Customer service contact information marketing options Website Design Checkout and Transaction Funnel Homepage layout Integrated payment – payment screen is Page design consistency on the branded domain Tone and presentation Delivery options Design and brand experience Data security and permission capture Option to remember payment details Product Search Product recommendation and Search functionality loyalty scheme Product Page After Sale Page weight Email confirmation Product images Online order tracking Merchandising detail Post-sale email marketing *Sample of ecommerce sites drawn from IMRG/Hitwise Hot Shops list February 2009, contributors to the IMRG Capgemini Index (e-retail sales) and winners of the IMRG Annual Online Performance Awards. None of the companies chosen is a client of the dotDigital Group PLC Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 4 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 5. Executive Summary and Results This table presents the overall percentage scores for each of the 20 retailers, with the highest score denoting the most effective ecommerce website*. Brand Total Brand Total Marks and Spencer 82 Look fantastic.com 67 John Lewis 78 Maplin 66 Boots 73 Tesco 66 Amazon.co.uk 73 Argos 65 hmv.com 72 Play.com 65 PC World 71 Asda 65 Game 71 Currys 64 Comet 71 Vie at home 62 Dixons 69 The Fragrance Shop 56 LoveFilm.com 68 Avon 54 Whilst none of the retailers we assessed scored less than half marks, the average score was just 68%. So there is clearly still some work to do on the part of online retailers to ensure they are taking advantage of the opportunities available to them online. Marks and Spencer topped the table, followed by John Lewis. At the bottom of the league table were 3 leading Beauty sector sites – Vie at home, The Fragrance Shop and Avon. The study reveals that most retailers are following best practice guidelines when it comes to the more traditional aspects of ecommerce. For example, every website included easy- to-use FAQs, free-text search with thumbnail images, online order tracking and email order confirmations. However, many retailers are failing to embrace the aspects of ecommerce that can really add value for customers and help drive customer spend. Only 45% provided editorial content on their site and only 50% used video to give an extra dimension to the online shopping experience. User generated content and social media were also largely ignored, with few embracing blogging (15%) or allowing user comments (10%). Elsewhere, retailers are neglecting additional marketing opportunities that can increase basket value: just 55% offered free delivery options and 40% didn’t include up-sell functionality during the checkout process. The majority of companies made little effort to forge longer term bonds with online customers. Only 35% actively publicised a loyalty scheme or asked shoppers to sign up for email marketing at the time of purchase. Post-sale efforts were also poor with only 40% sending a marketing email within 10 days of delivery of the product and only 4% personalising the email marketing message – essential for maximising engagement and response. *See Appendix on page 41 for a full breakdown of scores Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 5 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 6. Section 1 Website Content The old adage ‘Content is King’ certainly holds true in ecommerce. Engaging content helps to grab and hold the attention of website visitors and encourage customers and prospects to keep coming back for more. 1.1 Editorial content To succeed, an ecommerce site cannot simply provide product details and a purchase channel. The content of the site needs to provide ‘added value’ and contribute to the user experience. Including engaging content such as editorial features or video will encourage visitors to stay longer and can introduce them to new products that they hadn’t previously considered. Additional keyword-rich content can also help push a site up those all important search engine rankings. Average score: 12 out of 25 = 48% High flyers: Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, LoveFilm.com, Vie at home, Maplin. i John Lewis provide a video i guide to shooting good movies, helping add value for customers and sell more camcorders. ii Opening in a new window, Marks and Spencer link to a microsite that provides editorial content on their corporate social responsibility plans. They wisely provide a prominent link back to the online shop. ii Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 6 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 7. Section 1 Website Content Overall performance in this category was poor. Over half the retailers we assessed failed to include editorial material or video content in their ecommerce site. 30% didn’t include any added value subject matter at all. Of those that did, buyer guides were by far the most common content of this kind provided. Some of the retailers were more creative with their content. For example, Marks and Spencer included a wallpaper calculator to help customers work out the amount of paper they would need to fit a certain sized room. The inclusion of video was mainly focused on adding an extra dimension to product descriptions. Maplin however included its own branded YouTube channel featuring product demonstrations and ‘How to’ guides and Virgin Vie included YouTube videos of clients’ home parties. Best practice guidelines Where possible use video to provide an extra dimension to product pages and to editorial content Include SEO keywords in editorial content to improve search engine rankings Top tips If optimising content for key search terms, aim for a keyword density of around 1 keyword per 100 words. Keyword saturation can cause Google to penalise your site Think about grouping gr roup Use editorial ‘human interest’ content to build a customer community around your site – products into themes and include features and profiles on customers, suppliers, branches or members of your staff devising some additional content that would be useful Include ‘How to’ guides on areas of related interest to customers to customers shopping in that particular area. Test using microsites to focus on added value content, but ensure there are always prominent and relevant links back to your online shopping site, on every microsite page Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 7 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 8. Section 1 Website Content 1.2 Important information is easily accessible There are few things more frustrating for online shoppers than trying to locate information when it’s buried and hidden in the depths of the website. In fact, a recent survey found that 46% of UK consumers felt that the inability to find information was the most significant cause of frustration when shopping online1. We studied our 20 leading online retail websites to see how easy it was to find important information regarding their returns policy, delivery costs and options, and an ‘About Us’ page. Average score: 46 out of 60 = 77% High flyers: Currys, The Fragrance Shop ,Vie at home, Boots, Amazon.co.uk, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Argos. i The ‘about us’ link is clearly i visible in the top menu. The ‘free delivery’ option is clearly advertised next to the logo – a key selling point. In the bottom menu there is another link to the ‘about us’ page, alongside ‘delivery info’, ‘returns’ and ‘FAQ’. The retailers we assessed included most of the key information on their websites, but the links were often hidden and hard to find. However, an FAQ or help section was easily identifiable on every website. Best practice guidelines About us – this page should include relevant information about the company including its contact details, history and how long it has been trading. Customers like to know that a company is reputable, especially in the current climate Delivery pricing – savvy website shoppers know that, more often than not, a delivery price Top tips will be added to baskets during checkout. Providing this information when the goods are added to the basket will prevent any shocks – and abandoned baskets – in the checkout funnel Whilst it is th pr he the product that Delivery terms – if you need something for a certain date – a present, for example – it’s will eventually draw the eventuall customer to t checkout, the crucial to know how long delivery will take making sure that all the Returns information – for many products, customers will be more willing to buy if they are details they need to inform assured that they can return the item if it is not required a purchase are readily available will significantly FAQ – a help or FAQ page online will encourage visitors to find the answers to common improve the customer queries themselves and can help reduce the number of calls into your customer service team experience, and their confidence to purchase. Ensuring all this information is easily accessible to customers will make them less likely to abandon their visit 1. SciVisum, September 2006 Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 8 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 9. Section 1 Website Content 1.3 User generated content In today’s web 2.0 world, user generated content is becoming a must-have rather than a nice- to-have for an effective ecommerce site. It’s a no-brainer – encouraging visitors to contribute to a site increases brand affinity and makes them feel valued and included. It’s also a great way to get additional (often very high quality) content for a site, inspire customer confidence and increase conversion to sale rates – (research shows that 87% of people trust a peer recommendation over a critic’s review2). Average score: 19 out of 40 = 48% High flyers: LoveFilm.com, Vie at home, Play.com, Amazon.co.uk Only 5 of the retailers we surveyed scored more than 50% in this section. Whilst user product reviews featured across many of the sites, wider use of user generated content was lacking, with few of the ecommerce site taking advantage of blogs, forums or polls for example. These retailers are missing the opportunity to have their site loaded with up-to-date, ‘SEO friendly’ and customer confidence-inspiring content – free of charge, courtesy of their site users. What’s more, they are missing an opportunity to build an engaged community of visitors to their site who will spend more and refer more. i The Vie at home blog includes i contributions from staff, experts and guest bloggers, and provides clear links to Facebook, Vie at home on YouTube and Twitter. ii LoveFilm.com offers a range of reviews categories along with a user ratings breakdown. ii 2. Marketing Sherpa 2008 Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 9 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 10. Section 1 Website Content Best practice guidelines Include a blog on your ecommerce site. It helps add personality and currency to the site, and can assist SEO – blogs are indexed by search engines faster than standard content pages Give customers the opportunity to leave reviews and ratings for your products in order to add credibility to the online shop and inspire users to buy with confidence Make sure you have editorial approval over user generated content before it is published Top tips on your site Include user forums to help reduce demand on your customer care team by enabling users Incentivise customers to cu usto to share questions and answers around your products and services, on the forum itself write reviews in post-sale email marketing campaigns. market Monitor your user forum carefully for surfacing issues – either positive or negative – that These could include money- you need to act on or address off vouchers or exclusive access to new products. Use polls to encourage users to interact with your site and help build an online community spirit as well as encouraging return visits Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 10 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 11. Section 1 Website Content 1.4 Customer service and contact information No matter how comprehensive the FAQ section, customers will inevitably have questions that can’t be answered on the website alone. In these circumstances, visitors have two main options: either try and get help, or switch to a competitor. Making the first option as easy as possible will help retain a potential buyer and increase conversions. Perhaps unfortunately for retailers, in today’s multi-channel world, customers expect a multitude of different contact options to be available to them. Creating a good customer experience will depend on being able to provide as many contact options as required and making sure these are easy to find on the site. Average score: 13 out of 25 = 52% High flyers: Comet i On the Comet site, the phone i number is clearly displayed at the top of every single page on the website. Users are offered a ‘click and chat’ box on each product page, so they can directly talk via IM to a customer services representative. Almost every retailer included phone (95%) and email (95%) contact details with 75% also providing a postal address. But live chat options were far less common with only Comet providing this facility. Not one of the retailers assessed included a ‘Call Me Back’ button that allows customers to proactively request a call from the customer services team. Whilst the cost of customer service can put a strain on business resources, technologies like live chat can help by enabling agents to handle multiple chat sessions. Top tips Best practice guidelines Use live chat and FAQ sections to mminimise the inc number of incoming calls Offer as many different contact methods as possible, including: and emails, ensuring Phone customers can receive help Email directly on the website at Live chat their time of need, rather than forcing them to use Call me back slower, offline channels. Post Highlight contact options clearly and obviously on the website, especially on product pages Flag up self-help options like FAQ and searchable knowledge base sections, but don’t force customers to use these if all they really want is to speak directly to customer services Build in user generated content to enable users to share questions and answers amongst themselves on your site, e.g. in an online forum. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 11 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 12. Section 2 Website Design Good ecommerce site design requires a balance between supporting or enhancing the brand identity, and making sure that usability, content and the online shopping experience stay centre stage. 2.1 Homepage layout The layout of the homepage is crucial as, in most instances, it will be the landing page for visitors. The homepage needs to use design effectively to communicate a number of pieces of information in a clear and concise way. Average score: 27 out of 30 = 90% High flyers: Amazon.co.uk, Play, Comet i The top and left navigation i bars clearly outline the main categories and product areas. Special offers are obviously displayed alongside new products. New releases and hot picks are other marketing devices that will entice ‘browsers’ who might be unsure what they are looking for. The retailers we assessed performed well in this category with only one failing to score. One of the danger areas for some of the homepages was that the page layout became overly complex and busy. The most effective pages struck a good balance between content and focused calls to action. Best practice guidelines Top tips Don’t drown the user with text and information – use design to focus the user’s attention on the core messages, links and calls to action Use dynamic content to tailor cont c Keep main calls to action ‘above the fold’ and personalise homepage personalis Make sure the main navigation is obvious, with key departments or categories clearly labelled content for returning users, ret based on their own settings Use personalisation to entice returning visitors or behaviour on your site. Keep a good mix between popular items and special offers Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 12 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 13. Section 2 Website Design 2.2 Page design consistency Consistent use of logos, strap lines, navigation and design across the site is important to maintain usability and user confidence. There are conventions to follow as well. Most web users will be familiar with seeing a brand’s logo at the top left of the webpage. The logo can also provide an easy to find link to the homepage no matter where a user is on the site. Average score: 46 out of 50 = 92% High flyers: Asda, Comet, The Fragrance Shop i The logo is clearly presented i in the top left corner. The colours, fonts and layout used clearly reflect the company’s branding. The design is consistent between homepage and product page. The retailers scored very highly in this category with most websites demonstrating consistency Top tips throughout their sites. The area where retailers fell down was in relation to the consistency between landing pages and product pages, with some sites including a very different look and Don’t assume tha because e that feel on deeper pages. your brand is sufficiently well known ‘o ine’, a ‘offl strap line on your website Best practice guidelines isn’t necessary. A powerful strap line, consitently Keep the logo and strap line in the top left on every single page. Link the logo back to positioned on all web pages, the homepage with a single-minded and compelling proposition can Keep navigation consistent across the site say more about you than pages of website content Keep link styles and fonts consistent across the site – and help to drive more Ensure there is enough consistency between homepage and product pages to maintain conversions. user confidence in the site and the brand Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 13 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 14. Section 2 Website Design 2.3 Tone and presentation This section looked at how well the retailers knew their target audience and how well the website spoke to this group. Tone is always a very difficult criterion to get spot on and requires a range of considerations from design and branding, to content and vocabulary. This is important both for customers that are already familiar with the brand and for those who are trying a website or a brand for the first time. Average score: 25 out of 50 = 50% High flyers: John Lewis, Boots, hmv.com i The Boots site feels like i walking into a freshly fitted-out Boots store. Although the design is appropriately clinical, good photos and banners lift the site to make it more friendly. With so many components to get right, it is no surprise that there was a varied range of scores in this section. Whilst some of the websites were clearly (and correctly) geared toward a particular demographic and user profile, other sites took a more neutral approach, aiming to appeal to a wider cross-section of the population. Both approaches are equally valid, as long as they don’t become confused. At one end of the scale, the John Lewis site conveyed the high-end quality of the brand and its values. Conversely, the hmv.com site, with its splash of offers and deals spoke to a different target market using a very different tone and presentation. Top tips Best practice Get to know your customers. your ‘Paint a picture’ of the pictur people you want to attract wa Think carefully about every component on the website and ensure they all match the and sell to – how they look, overall tone and presentation style of the brand the kind of sites they visit and Pictures are vital for any ecommerce site, but the style of photography will largely media they consume. This will help you design and write depend on the tone you want to convey content with an appropriate Writing compelling copy that will appeal to the right audience is no easy feat. ‘Less is tone and style. more’ is often a good start here Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 14 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 15. Section 2 Website Design 2.4 Design and brand experience Engaging design can be the difference between increasing or decreasing your ‘bounce’ rate (i.e. percentage of visitors who enter your site on a certain page and leave without visiting any other pages). If a site’s design is compelling and fits in well with the brand and the products being sold, this can have a dramatic effect on conversion rates. Average score: 27 out of 35 = 77% High flyers:, Play, lookfantastic.com, Argos, Boots i With a brand that is all about i looking good, the site design certainly has a glamorous feel. The ‘fashion’ photography adds to the magazine-type feel of the site, backed up by good quality content. Top tips R Remember that trust plays b th t t tha an important role in a users decision to buy a product d i i t b Again, there were mixed scores in this section. The challenge for most retailers seemed to stem from your site, or from a from problems around combining brand enhancing design with the necessary functionality competitor’s. Investing some required on the site. Too often, content ran the risk of getting in the way of the overall look and feel. of your budget (and your time) in creating a really good site design will pay Best practice guidelines dividends down the line. Some designers are not ‘Clicks and mortar’ retailers need to have a clear understanding of their offline brand as au fait when it comes to and shopping experience in order to ensure the online brand supports and reflects them designing for ecommerce and its particular design consistently rules. Remember – you’re Understand clearly what the proposition, competitive stance or USP of your retail business not designing to win awards, or online shop is. This will inform the tone and presentation of the site (e.g. if your you’re designing to win proposition is that you ‘pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap’ then your website design business. and tone of copy should convey this) Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 15 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 16. Section 3 Product Search Flexible, refinable and effective product search is essential for a successful ecommerce site. Users need to be able to find what they want, examine your products in detail and compare them with other products easily. They need to be able to narrow and broaden their searches, sort them as they choose and see their results at a glance. If a user can’t do all this, they may well search elsewhere. 3.1 Search functionality Providing an easy to find and easy to use search box is crucial, especially for retail websites that feature a large range of products. However, it’s important to provide additional options above and beyond standard search functionality. If nothing else, your search engine should allow for the following: Free keyword search Refineable search The ability to add or remove filters without starting over Average score: 46 out of 63 = 73% High flyers: Marks and Spencer, hmv.com, Asda, Amazon.co.uk i The search box on the i hmv.com site is clearly visible at the top of every page with a drop down box to narrow searches from the start. Searches can be refined or sorted by a range of different options and search quantities are included in brackets. hmv.com also had a very impressive advanced search function. ii Marks and Spencer provided the ability to sort search results by price, relevance, best-selling and new arrivals. Up to 60 results can be viewed on the ii same page. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 16 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 17. Section 3 Product Search Unsurprisingly, it was the retailers selling a wide variety of products that scored particularly well here, but it would be wrong for any retailer to become complacent with basic search functionality. Many web users are pretty good at using advanced search options (think of the possible search options that Google now provides) and so are entitiled to expect the same standard elsewhere. Every retailer included free-text search on their website and 85% gave the option to refine search results using filters. However, only 55% gave the option to add or remove further filters. This is particularly important as many web users don’t get their search right first time. They will often need - and want – to refine and improve search queries to find exactly what they are looking for. Few retailers included advanced sorting options with only a minority including the ability to sort by features or user rating (both 35%), best-selling (20%) or newest to oldest (15%). Only 25% gave the option to view all search results on one page. Top tips Best practice guidelines If your out of the box site Make sure the search box and search options are prominent on every page search isn’t powerful p enough then consider out- Enable users to add or remove filters during their search, without having to use the sourcing search to one of back button the many third parties who can do this for you. However Include thumbnails of product images in search results pages to encourage click-throughs be aware, they don’t come Where feasible, allow users to view all their search results on one page without having to cheap. So make sure you click forward through separate pages have the traffic and revenue to support it. Enable users to sort their search results by relevant criteria (e.g. price, user rating, best- selling, best match) Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 17 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 18. Section 4 Product Page The product page is your opportunity to showcase your goods, highlight key features and ensure the customer has all the information they need to make a confident purchase. 4.1 Page weight The ‘weight’ of the homepage will decide how long a new visitor has to wait for the page to load. Many people choose to shop online because of the time saving advantages. So as well as clear and logical site design and navigation, the speed of page loading is also an important factor for users. Accepted best practice is that a homepage should load in less than 10 seconds. The challenge is to test and find the best balance between loading time and the use of impactful, sticky content. For the purposes of scoring in this report, we used an ADSL broadband connection, for which a homepage needed to weigh 500kb or less in order to load in 10 seconds or under. Average score: 12 out of 20 = 60% High flyers: Asda, Vie at home, Avon i The Avon homepage weighs i just 232kb, delivering a fast load time, whilst still including impactful images and content. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 18 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 19. Section 4 Product Page Top tips The retailers were a mixed bag in terms of homepage weights, with 8 of the 20 ecommerce site 1 If you are going to use large goi homepages we analysed weighing in at more than 500kb. The Fragrance Shop, Game and hmv. images then co consider using a CDN (content delivery network) d com each weighed in at well over 1mb. to ensure that content is sent to the user at the highest Whilst some will achieve swift loading times on a broadband connection (average speed of possible speed. Ensure that 2.95mbps), others run the risk of losing visitors simply because their homepages can take caching is enabled on your longer than 10 seconds to load on broadband and therefore much, much longer on dial-up. front-end servers so that information isn’t needlessly We found that many of the retailers’ homepages with quicker loading times didn’t have sent twice. to abandon the use of images and sacrifice impact or stickiness. 2 Check your site in Firefox using the ‘yslow’ plugin for a Best practice guidelines test of overall performance of your page, and for tips on how Ensure key parts of the page load quickly to capture and hold visitors’ attention to improve it. A/B split test different weights of homepage, to test the effect on bounce rates 3 Check your analytics system to see if mobile browsers are Optimise image files to reduce their size to the minimum required whilst maintaining making up a significant or sufficient image quality increasing chunk of users. Use Flash files and large animations with care If your site isn’t compatible, redirect them to a purpose-built Use analytics to profile your visitors by internet connection speed, before deciding on your mini-site with contact details or target homepage weight special phone number. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 19 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 20. Section 4 Product Page 4.2 Product images Showing off your products in the best possible light is a sure fire way to entice website visitors to find out more and purchase with confidence. By including multiple views of each product you increase the chances that a shopper will convert online rather than seek the product out in-store. Average score: 43 out of 65 = 66% High flyers: Play.com, Amazon.co.uk i Play.com product pages i include enlargeable images, multiple images and video product demos. ii Amazon.co.uk provide a ‘Look inside’ feature so users can read samples of books before they buy – just like in a real book shop. ii Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 20 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 21. Section 4 Product Page We were surprised to find that not one of the 20 retailers we assessed offered 3D rotatable images. The more detailed views of products a retailer can offer, the greater the likelihood of a conversion to sale. Although all retailers provided at least one product image, just half of the retailers we examined provided two or more. Even for entertainment products like books and DVDs, it’s beneficial to give customers the opportunity to read the back of the case, just as you would in the shop. Amazon.co.uk was exemplary in this respect. By allowing site users to look at both covers and also inside the books, they made the experience as immersive as if the customer were in a store. Best practice guidelines Always include at least one, clear, high quality image of your product or service on the product page Include an image gallery to provide customers with multiple views of products and see them in context and in use Top tips Ensure products images are enlargeable Include zoomable and 3D rotatable images to enable customers to get detailed, 360 U thumbnail t Use thumbnails to reduce page th b il degree views weight and download times. dow Include videos and animations of products where possible Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 21 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 22. Section 4 Product Page 4.3 Merchandising detail Converting an ecommerce site visitor to a purchaser is largely a matter of providing the user with enough information that they have the confidence to purchase. During the course of our research, we looked at key online product merchandising techniques that help drive user confidence, including stock indicators, product comparison options and the option to select which currency to purchase in. Average score: 41 out of 70 = 58% High flyers: Argos, John Lewis, Play.com, Dixons i Comet allows customers to i compare products and their features and ratings, side by side to aid the purchase decision. 14 out of the 20 retailers provided a stock level indicator. Those who failed to do this are risking losing potential sales. Only 5 out of the 20 sites included a product comparison feature, with department stores leading the way – Argos, Marks and Spencer, John Lewis, Comet and Dixons. Customers who like to shop this way will simply go to a competitor site that offers a comparison feature if they Top tips need to make comparisons. Most surprisingly of all, only 2 of the retailers offered pricing in a choice of currency on their Make sure you co is your copy ur sites. Online selling has the potential to give retailers access to a truly international and global salesy! Sell the benefits and features of a p product, but market. Those who offer flexible currency pricing place themselves in the strongest position to also make sure you have a tap into these lucrative markets. good collection of product shots and as much data as Best practice guidelines possible for the analytical types. If you have more copy, product imagery and product Provide an indication of stock levels to reassure customers that there will be no issues with specification data than the delivery of the product they want to order competitors, buyers will view Provide an option for customers to compare their selection of products, side by side you as more authoritative, and you are more likely to get Provide multi-currency pricing options so website visitors from overseas countries can the sale. select the currency in which they want to see the price Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 22 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 23. Section 5 Marketing Search engine description - in a Google natural search, what description is displayed by Google for the homepage? A website’s meta description has one key purpose – to drive click-throughs from the search engine results page to your website. Think of it as an advertisement – NOT as a collection of keywords. Average score: 20 out of 25 = 80% High flyers: Argos, Tesco, Asda, John Lewis, Play.com, LoveFilm.com, Vie at home, Comet, Currys, Maplin Not enough of the retailers were on top of this, with only 10 of the 20 ensuring their meta description in a Google natural search displayed an effective and compelling summary of their mission, without becoming truncated. Truncation is where Google is unable to show the whole of the description because the text is too long. In these cases some editing would help to ensure the description is optimised to deliver the strongest message within a limited character count, and maximise click-throughs. In too many cases retailers who had compelling reasons for searchers to visit their site, such as free delivery, price discounts or a USP, didn’t mention these in their meta description. i Maplin’s description is i compelling – but don’t forget to check for typos before publication. Top tips Best practice guidelines Don’t focus you m your meta ur Your meta description should provide a clear and concise summary of your website and description on keywords. It’s clearly communicate what a visitor to your site can expect to find well worth usin a couple using of keywords where possible The description should compel the searcher to click through to your website (without in your description, but the being gimmicky) page title rather than the description is your best The length of text should be optimised to avoid truncation optimisation tag for keywords. Meta copy should not sacrifice click-throughs for search rankings Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 23 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 24. Section 5 Marketing 5.2 Sales promotion mechanisms Once you’ve enticed the customer to explore your website, it’s time to maximise their spending potential. Cross-selling and up-selling, ‘deals of the day’ and best seller lists will draw customers to products they may not have been considering, drive return traffic and help maximise revenue per visit. The sales promotion mechanisms we scored against in this category were: Just arrived/coming soon Offers department Deal of the day/week Best sellers Bundles or buy-one-get-one-frees Most popular searches Wish lists Cross-sell Up-sell Loyalty scheme advertised on front pages Average score: 50 out of 90 – 55% High flyers: Boots, Avon, lookfantastic.com i The Fragrance Shop displays i a wide variety of mechanisms to encourage users to explore their product range and offers, including: Special Offers: Top Sellers: New Fragrances: Best Sellers of the Month: This Week’s Star Buys. No retailers scored full marks in this section and 45% scored less than half marks. Retailers need to take advantage of every tool and technique available to help increase spend per customer per visit. Proven sales promotion techniques such as bundled offers and cross- sell/up-sell suggestions drive customers to spend more and lend themselves perfectly to the ecommerce site medium. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 24 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 25. Section 5 Marketing Somewhat surprising was the fact that the electrical retailers, whilst efficient at cross-selling, performed poorly in the area of up-selling. High-value goods offer an ideal opportunity to tempt an aspirational customer into buying the next model up! We were also interested to discover that just half of the retailers offered customers the opportunity to build a wish list. Wish lists are a great mechanism for reminding users of products they may have forgotten they wanted, and can also encourage customers to refer their friends and family to the site too. Top tips Best practice guidelines Sales promotio d promotion devices that on Test different promotional mechanisms to see which work best for your site automatically “discover” likely cross se based on sells Promote special offers on the home page as well as product pages shopping habits and “x goes well with y” are difficult and Use time sensitive offers such as ‘Deal of the Day’ or ‘Deal of the Week’ to encourage users expensive to write yourself. to return regularly to the site However there are several Make it easy for users to find special offers 3rd parties that offer this functionality on a monthly Inspire customer confidence by showing best sellers and most popular searches rental basis. If your Maximise returning visits by featuring regularly updated just arrived/coming soon sections ecommerce platform does not support using one of these, Increase spend without discounting price by creating bundled offers then consider changing to one Enable users to set up private wish lists as well as gift lists to encourage engagement that does as these are proven mechanisms to generate more and referrals sales. See also section 6.5. Where appropriate, encourage customer spend through an online loyalty scheme Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 25 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 26. Section 5 Marketing 5.3 Data capture Using the website to collect opted-in, permission-based contact data is a corner stone of successful online marketing. The homepage of an ecommerce site is a critical channel for collecting customer and prospect contact data for opted-in communications. Once a visitor has taken that first step to engaging with the retailer by signing up to a newsletter, the customer relationship building process can begin. Getting visitors to sign up to a newsletter or alerter takes more than just a form. To maximise the number of signups, retailers need to spell out the benefits of subscribing and make this call to action a ‘no brainer’. Average score: 18 out of 30 = 60% High flyers: hmv.com, Virgin Vie, Avon, Comet, Currys, PC World, Dixons i Vie at home provides i prominently placed links inviting users to sign up to their newsletter or request a catalogue. ii Currys feature a prominent ii invitation to users to sign up for offers and other subscriber benefits. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 26 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 27. Section 5 Marketing 20% of the retailers surveyed did not include a data collection/sign-up mechanism on their homepage. Of those that did have the data capture link on the homepage, only half of them positioned it above the fold where it would be easily visible. The retailers who failed to score here are missing out on valuable opportunities to capture the contact data of visitors who may abandon the site without buying, and remain otherwise anonymous. Best practice guidelines Top tips Ensure your data collection link is in a prominent position, above the fold on both your Experiment with your signup w homepage and on deeper content pages form by testing alternative testi Spell out the benefits of subscribing or signing up, e.g. special offers, new releases, copy, incentives and copy incent capturing different amounts subscriber previews and privileges of personal data. If collecting Let recipients know how frequently they can expect to receive communications from you personal details impacts your (and stick to these commitments) signup rate, try collecting this in an initial welcome Look to capture detail such as ‘where heard’ and ‘gender’ to help you target your initial email to new subscribers, messages where possible or in a follow-up form after registration. Consider using ‘double opt-in’ whereby the contact is required to validate their email address by clicking a link in the validation email you have sent them Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 27 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 28. Section 5 Marketing 5.4 Social networking and viral marketing options Over 25% of the UK’s adult population use a social network in one form or another, be that via sites like Facebook and Twitter, recommendation engines like Digg! or blogging networks. The power of social recommendations is often greater than paid-for marketing activity, so retailers would be wise to enable and encourage their customers to share any bargains, unusual product finds or wish lists by making it easy for them to post the pages to their social networks. Average score: 5 out of 15 = 33% High flyers: Maplin, Argos, lookfantastic.com i Maplin include a nice range i of social network bookmarking links, but some of the big players are missing, like Twitter, which has exploded in popularity in the UK in 2009. Overall the retailers we surveyed scored poorly in this section, missing out on opportunities to spread their marketing reach at no extra cost. Best practice guidelines Top tips Make sure links to share pages on social networking sites are on every product page Make it as easy as possible easy Use ‘Tweet this’ buttons which include the URL and pre-written text for customers to post your web pages on their social Use ‘Email this’ buttons which generate a pre-written email or form networking sites with a one- Use ‘forward this page’ buttons click process. Encourage customers to follow you on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook, and link with other marketing messages Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 28 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 29. Section 6 Checkout and Transaction Funnel Ensuring your customers are comfortable and confident about transacting on your website is crucial for turning site visits into sales. With identity fraud and phishing scams rife, online security is a key concern for many consumers and if your site fails to reassure them of your integrity and of the safety of their details, most will take their business elsewhere. 6.1 Integrated payment Reassuringly, this is a criterion that all the retailers we assessed appeared to take seriously. We awarded full marks to those whose payment pages were integrated within the online shop domain, and penalised those who took customers off to a third-party domain. Redirecting customers away from the branded ecommerce site may damage the consumer’s confidence in the security of the transaction. From the point of view of best practice and brand trust, dotCommerce recommends always integrating payment screens into the branded site itself. Average score: 23 out of 25 = 92% Poor performers: Avon and Currys i Avon clearly states that it i is redirecting the customer to the secure payment gateway, but customers would be more reassured by simply staying on the Avon site. Only two retailers made customers leave the main website in order to complete their payments. The vast majority recognised the importance of keeping a purchasing customer on their website. Top tips Best practice guidelines A majority, if not all credit majority n a cards have da dates expressed as numbers. So why do some numbers S Ask for the billing address first, and then ask if the billing address is the same as shipping checkout systems specify the address, so users don’t have to type an address out twice month component in words Many people still have problems with CCV/CV2/AVS. Make sure you explain what they (Jan, Feb Mar) etc? By all mean and if you take AMEX, be sure to accept 4 digits rather than three and tell users means have both words and numbers to express a credit where to find the security code on an AMEX card card expiry date, but don’t Be aware of any PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance issues that you might have when ask your users to do even you process or store credit card information. Talk to your payment processor for advice on basic mental arithmetic. these issues Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 29 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 30. Section 6 Checkout and Transaction Funnel 6.2 Delivery options Confidence in delivery is a crucial aspect in an individual’s decision to purchase online. Sites that succeed are those that offer fast, low cost effective, reliable and highly flexible delivery options to their customers. Average score: 31 out of 50 = 62% High flyers: John Lewis, hmv.com, Game, Currys, Maplin, PC World i Dixons provide detailed i information on their choice of delivery services, including a premium service that enables the customer to select the date and time for their delivery. Retailers scored poorly in this section, with 4 out of the 20 scoring no points at all, and 30% scoring just half marks. We found a lack of choice and flexibility in delivery options, and a resistance to offer a free delivery option. In a fiercely competitive online market place, it is the retailers who shine in this area that online customers will choose to shop with. Top tips You might want to c ou t consider Best practice using multiple s shipping providers offer the best cost t Be transparent about delivery pricing, early on the purchase transaction process – don’t routing for your deliveries. leave the details of delivery cost until late in the process when the customer has already There are multi channel carrier invested time and effort in completing form fields solutions that will manage this for you so you simply pass the Be clear and specific about delivery terms details of the delivery and they Where possible, offer a free delivery option will return the cheapest carrier for the desired flexibility. If you offer free delivery options, then publicise this on the homepage, in your meta Even if you outsource your descriptions and in the basket and checkout process warehouse, check if they would support different carriers. Use free delivery as a mechanism to up-sell to customers, (e.g. ‘spend an extra £5.50 and get free delivery’) Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 30 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 31. Section 6 Checkout and Transaction Funnel 6.3 Data security and permission capture Capturing a consumer’s permission to be sent email marketing messages is email marketing best practice, and important for retailers who want to maximise revenue and sales. Including an opt-in tick box during the checkout process helps to build a marketing database of actively engaged email marketing responsive customers. Average score: 5 out of 15 = 30% High flyers: Avon, Currys, Comet, PC World, Dixons i Avon requires customers to i accept the terms of their privacy policy. Avon then invites them to actively opt-in to marketing messages - selling them the benefits of doing so. Just 6 out of the 20 retailers we assessed provided our mystery shopper customers with a simple tick box to opt-in to future marketing communications. The retailers who were marked down in this section may be missing out on the opportunity to create and segment a highly responsive email marketing database, and use it to drive viral and referral opportunities to grow the database further. Best practice guidelines Legally, B2C online retailers are required only to offer an opt-out of email communications, if data collected in the checkout process is to be used for marketing purposes Collecting an opt-in during the checkout process is best practice, as it can help to build a Top tips more cost-effective database of highly engaged and responsive consumers Include at the point of opt-in/opt-out, a link to a friendly privacy policy that states how and The inclusion o a genuine he of why you store and use personal contact data VeriSign, Thawte, Comdo Thaw or other recogn recognised SSL Use the wording of your permission statement to inspire confidence on the part of the provider logo in your customer – not as a legal warning that is more likely to scare them off checkout process is essential Consider using double opt-in to ensure you capture accurate email addresses of highly to reassure customers on their security and privacy. engaged customers who are happy to confirm who they are by clicking on an email link in order to opt into your email marketing programmes Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 31 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 32. Section 6 Checkout and Transaction Funnel 6.4 Option to store payment details Online retailers who give their customers the option for their payment details to be securely stored, make it easier and quicker for their customers to return and make repeat purchases. Average score: 4 out of 10 = 40% High flyers: Tesco, Asda, Play.com, Game, PC World, Dixons i i Asda enable users to opt- out of having their card details stored. These details can then be managed in the ‘My Account’ tab. With an average score of just 35%, this was one area where the retailers we assessed really fell down. By making it as easy as possible for customers to buy from you, you’ll increase repeat transactional visits and reduce shopping cart dropout. Top tips Best practice guidelines Be aware of th P the PCI he Include an opt-in tick box to enable users to indicate if they would like their billing and/or regulations wh storing when credit card det details on your credit card details securely stored own system. If you want to Ask for the CCV number each time a repeat order is placed online leverage repeat purchases without the expense of Provide reassuring copy stating how and why this is a safe and secure option for the user gaining PCI compliance then to choose check with your Payment Look for opportunities to store and personalise other information shown to individual Service Processer and see if they can store those details users – either through the use of cookies, or a log-in. Using customer intelligence to for you. personalise content on an ecommerce site helps customers to return to your site, find what they want and purchase quicker and more easily Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 32 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 33. Section 6 Checkout and Transaction Funnel 6.5 Product recommendation and loyalty schemes The power of online product recommendations should not be underestimated. By recommending relevant and popular products during and after the checkout process you encourage customers at the point where they are actively purchasing, to make extra impulse buys. It’s just like supermarkets putting all those bars of chocolate and celeb magazines in racks by the tills to encourage last minute impulse purchases. Well run loyalty schemes can also help to drive customer spend online. Average score: 20 out of 55 = 36% High flyers: lookfantastic.com, Amazon.co.uk, hmv.com i Amazon.co.uk’s shopping i basket is jam packed with both cross-sell and up-sell suggestions. Customers prone to making impulse purchases may find one of these suggestions hard to resist! ii Amazon.co.uk include ‘recommendations for your next visit’ in their email confirmation following an order – never missing the opportunity to encourage customers to make more purchases. ii Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 33 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 34. Section 6 Checkout and Transaction Funnel iii hmv.com use their shopping iii basket to promote their ‘purehmv’ rewards scheme and other special offers. We awarded retailers marks for recommending products during the checkout process, on the confirmation/thank you page and in the auto-responder correspondence, as well as awarding points for loyalty schemes. We were shocked to find that seven retailers did not take advantage of any of these up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and only 5 of the 20 ecommerce sites surveyed used 2 or more of the touch points described to encourage customers to spend more. The shining beacon of up-sell was Amazon.co.uk who smartly missed no opportunity to offer website users further ideas and opportunities to spend their money on. Top tips We did find 45% of retailers publicising a customer loyalty scheme. Whilst these schemes can be complex to administer and can come with as many pros as with cons, retailers not using them may be missing an opportunity to increase brand affinity and online spend. The most effec effective product ctive recommendation system at recommendat checkout is rerelated cross- Best practice guidelines sells. So, if a customer is buying a TV, the checkout Include product suggestions, related products or ‘customers who bought this also page will recommend related bought...’ suggestions on product pages, in the shopping basket, on the confirmation/ products with an offer such as thank you page and in the auto-response confirmation email a stand, cables, dvd player etc - items that a customer might Link the product suggestions to the relevant product pages to enable easy purchase also want to purchase with the main item. Don’t try and build recommendation technology yourself unless you have very capable developers - most ecommerce sites oursource this to third parties Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 34 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 35. Section 7 After Sale Once an online sale has been successfully completed there are some key steps that retailers can take to make sure the customer feels both confident about their decision to purchase, and valued as a customer. Staying in touch throughout the fulfilment process is important, so the customer knows when to expect delivery and is alerted if any delays occur. Once the item is delivered, it’s time to start consolidating and nurturing the customer relationship by using carefully targeted email marketing messages. 7.1 Email confirmation Making sure customers receive a detailed email confirmation immediately after an online purchase is a very important step. The email should state clearly the details of the transaction – the products bought, price paid and the method of payment used. It is also important to set out the delivery details and set expectations in terms of delivery times. This will help reassure the customer and can pre-empt calls into your customer services team. It’s also a good idea to include details about how the customer can get further information or help if they have any post-transaction queries or questions. The next step is to send an email to the customer to let them know when the item has been despatched. Again, it’s important to set expectations and let them know when the product will arrive. Average score: 29 out of 35 = 82% High flyers: Tesco, John Lewis, Currys, Dixons Every one of the retailers we looked at sent an order confirmation email following the sale. Most also managed to send a confirmation of despatch, with only 25% failing to follow this latter step. Best practice guidelines Keep emails short and to the point whilst including all the relevant details that customers need Always include customer service details in the email in case your shopper wants to get in touch Make sure that delivery estimates are as accurate as possible Include returns information to increase customer confidence Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 35 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 36. Section 7 After Sale i The email from Dixons is i simple but includes all the To: samplename@sample.co.uk Subject: DIXONS Order: D002350447 at 13/05/2009 14:32:04 necessary information. Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 14:41:48 +0100 From: DIXONSWEBSALES@DIXONS.CO.UK ii The products ordered, price paid, payment method and delivery address are all Dear Mr Bloggs, ii specified. re det Thank you for shopping with Dixons. Here are the details of the product/s you have ordered: iii The email includes a link to information about cancellation Quantity Code Description rights and returns policies. 1 037349 MATSUI MKE1151W* KETTLE 1 177581 DELIVERY SERVICE S MALL Total price: £5.99 Dixons order number: D000000001 Order placed on: 13/05/2009 14:32:04 Payment method: Credit/Debit Card Subject to availability, the order will be delivered to Sample Name Sample Address Sample Town Sample City Postcode Payment will be taken from your debit or credit card as described in our terms and conditions The terms and conditions can be found on http://www.dixons.co.uk under ‘Terms and Conditions’. Please note that all orders are subject to stock availability. We will email you again regarding the status of your order. Thank you for placing your order with Dixons Web Sales. Note: There is no need to worry if you cannot see all the products you ordered in the list above - they will be included in a separate mail. We sometimes offer our customers the ability to place advanced orders for items that have not yet been launched by the manufacturer (we would have quoted a ‘release date’ for these products). If you have placed an order containing immediately available products and advanced order products, we will usually split your order into two separate orders. You would therefore receive separate emails covering the immediately available products and another covering the remaining advanced order products. Payment for advanced order items will be taken on dispatch of the goods. No additional delivery charges would be incurred in these circumstances. How does your broadband supplier compare? Compare prices and start saving money now by visiting: http://www.comparemoreatdixons.co.uk/index.aspx?ReffererRef=Dixons.co.uk_fulfilemail_Bband Top tips For your convenience, we have attached a PDF containing important Keeping custo customers updated omer information about your cancellation rights, our returns policy and Dixons iii Aftersales service. with the progress of their progr order is vital. Send updates vital S Click the following link to download Adobe PDF Reader to open this post-sale and post-despatch document.[http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html] to ensure customers know exactly when their item is due to arrive. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 36 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 37. Section 7 After Sale 7.2 Online order tracking Online order tracking is a great way of inspiring customer confidence by letting customers track for themselves exactly how their order is progressing. Rather than contacting a customer service representative, customers can check their order status themselves, saving a retail business valuable time and resource. Order tracking functionality should be connected to the order processing system so that customers can track the order from payment completion and allocation, through to packing and shipping. Average score: 23 out of 25 = 92% Poor performers: Argos and Avon i John Lewis provides an i obvious link to ‘Your orders’ at the top of the page and detailed order tracking . Top tips Integrate your bac ntegrate r back-end sales processe with your processes ecommerce pl platform to make Best practice guidelines it easy to give customers up-to-date information about Provide clear login options for customers to ensure they can access up-to-date order their order without the need tracking information from anywhere on the site for manual updating. Include an estimated despatch date so that visitors know when to expect their purchase Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 37 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 38. Section 7 After Sale 7.3 Post-sale email marketing activity Succeeding in converting a website visitor into a purchaser is just the first step on a long road of building and developing your customer relations. The goals from here on are likely to be 4-fold: Increase income per customer Build online brand affinity Drive traffic Build your customer base through referral To achieve these goals, a regular and compelling dialogue needs to be established between retailer and customer. In particular for online purchasers there is no better channel for building this dialogue than email. To keep the relationship warm following our online purchases, we looked for follow-up email messages within 10 days of the order date. This is the window of opportunity when the relationship is still warm. Don’t leave it any longer. Average score: 5 out of 30 = 17% High flyers: Tesco i In Tesco’s follow-up email the offers are all timely and the free delivery call to action is a good additional incentive. ii The email is personalised which helps build trust with the recipient. Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 38 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 39. Section 7 After Sale With an average score of 17%, this proved to be the lowest scoring section of the report. The shock news of this report is that only 40% of the retailers surveyed sent a follow-up email marketing message to (or was received by) our mystery online shoppers within 10 days of the online purchase. Of those that did send a marketing email, only one – Tesco – sent a personalised email. Retaining and up-selling existing customers costs less than acquiring new ones. An ongoing customer relationship building strategy is essential for all the retailers we surveyed. Too many of these leading retailers are neglecting the email channel – despite its clear advantages: Cost – email campaigns are low cost to build and send compared to print and other traditional channels ROI – expect email to deliver considerably higher ROI than offline marketing channels Trackability – email responses can be tracked in detail and right down to contact level, for pin-point targeting 1-2-1 messaging – email can be tightly customised and personalised for maximum relevance to the recipient, and maximum response Best practice guidelines Personalise follow-up email content based on key data you have collected on your new customers Use follow-up emails to collect further data on your customers – with mini online surveys and competitions Harness your email’s viral potential by including a ‘forward to friend’ link Include added value content with links back to your site to drive traffic and engage the recipient Top tips Encourage user generated content, e.g. invite recipient to upload diary dates, gallery O li Online surveys can be a great images, forum comments way to follow-up an online follow-u Track email opens and click-throughs at contact level and follow-up key groups with purchase and get feedback on targeted messages, integrated with both online and offline channels how the process is working as well as for data capture and enrichment purposes. For detailed, practical advice and guidance on email marketing best practice, see dotMailer’s report: Hitting the Mark – An annual benchmark study of retail email marketing performance (www.dotMailer.co.uk/hittingthemark). Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 39 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 40. Conclusion 2009-2010 will see continuingly challenging times for retailers. The good news is that whilst sales on the High Street may continue to falter, online retail spending is enjoying sustained and healthy growth. Recent forecasts* show that UK online retail sales are set to grow by up to 137% or £12.3nb, by the end of 2011. As retailers and all marketers increase their investment in online and email channels it is essential they maximise their opportunity to deliver ROI. However, our study shows that even in light of the current economic climate, the country’s major name retailers are not proactively exploiting all the opportunities available to them through ecommerce and email marketing. To many of the retailers are not following best practices – with the risk of impacting web traffic, conversions and revenue. But small changes can make a big difference. One of the great strengths of online selling is the ability to test changes and variations and accurately measure what works best. This is the way to ensure the homepage of an ecommerce site has the lowest bounce rate; that navigation and product pages have the lowest exit rates; and that transaction funnels have the lowest abandonment rates. Retailers should take these minimum steps to ensure their ecommerce sites are performing to their potential: Focus on delivering added value content and user generated content to help build an engaged community of loyal returning visitors to the site. Web 2.0 offers boundless opportunities for retailers to enrich their customer’s online shopping experience and in turn drive conversion rates and revenue Make greater use of simple sales promotion techniques and fully exploit all available opportunities to cross-sell or up-sell online visitors Get the follow-up right. Retailers need to ensure they effectively build their customer relationship after they’ve left the site, using timely, targeted and personalised email programmes It is the retailers who make use of web 2.0 and personalised content to build a customer community, offer flexible delivery options and the ability to shop with ease and confidence, and who nurture their customer relationship with targeted email marketing, who will win the battle for the online customer. * Experian/Paypal UK Online Retail Report 2009 Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 40 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC
  • 41. Appendix Maximum possible score Average score Argos Tesco Marks and Spencer Asda John Lewis hmv.com Play.com LoveFilm.com Game Amazon.co.uk Boots lookfantastic.com Vie at home The Fragrance Shop Avon Comet Currys Maplin PC World Dixons 1.1 Editorial content 25 12 0 10 25 0 25 10 0 25 10 10 15 15 25 15 10 0 15 25 0 0 1.2 Important information easily accessible 60 46 60 50 60 50 60 40 15 25 45 60 60 25 60 60 35 45 60 45 35 35 1.3 User generated content 40 19 20 20 20 20 0 20 25 35 20 25 20 25 30 20 0 20 20 0 20 15 1.4 Customer service & contact information 25 13 15 10 15 10 15 15 5 15 5 10 15 15 15 15 15 20 10 15 15 15 2.1 Homepage layout 30 27 30 30 30 30 30 0 30 30 30 0 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 30 2.2 Page design consistency 50 46 35 15 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 15 50 50 50 50 50 50 50 2.3 Tone and presentation 35 25 23 12 35 35 35 23 23 35 35 12 35 35 12 12 23 23 12 35 23 23 2.4 Design and brand experience 35 27 35 12 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 23 35 35 12 12 12 23 23 23 35 12 Full scores 3.1 Search functionality 60 50 60 45 60 60 45 60 45 45 45 60 60 60 20 20 20 60 60 45 60 60 3.1.1 Additional search functions 65 41 40 35 60 50 50 60 25 40 35 50 40 45 35 35 25 60 35 35 35 35 4.1 Page weight 20 12 20 20 0 20 20 0 20 20 0 20 20 0 20 0 20 0 20 0 20 0 4.2 Product images 65 43 35 55 55 55 55 25 55 55 20 55 35 25 35 25 35 35 35 55 55 55 4.3 Merchandising detail 70 41 70 40 62 34 48 38 57 48 56 48 48 38 33 20 18 20 10 44 48 43 5.1 Search engine description 25 20 25 25 15 25 25 15 25 25 15 15 15 15 25 15 15 25 25 25 15 15 5.2 Sales promotion mechanisms 90 50 58 43 68 31 62 66 16 31 57 62 78 68 53 44 72 56 36 18 48 36 5.3 Data capture 30 18 20 10 20 0 20 30 0 10 0 10 0 20 30 20 30 30 30 20 30 30 5.4 Social networking and viral marketing 15 5 15 0 5 5 5 5 5 0 0 0 5 10 10 5 0 5 0 15 0 0 6.1 Integrated payment 25 23 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 0 25 0 25 25 25 6.2 Delivery options 50 31 0 20 35 0 50 50 30 15 50 35 20 15 20 35 20 35 50 50 50 35 6.3 Data security and permission 15 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 15 0 0 0 0 0 15 15 15 0 15 15 6.4 Option to store payment details 10 4 0 10 0 10 0 0 10 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 10 10 6.5 Product recommendation and loyalty scheme 55 20 10 35 15 25 0 40 40 0 35 45 10 40 0 0 25 25 0 0 10 40 7.1 Email confirmation 35 29 10 35 35 10 35 35 35 35 35 35 35 10 35 35 35 10 35 35 10 35 7.2 Online order tracking 25 23 0 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 25 0 25 25 25 25 25 7.3 Post-sale emarketing activity 30 5 0 30 10 0 10 0 10 10 10 0 0 0 10 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 Final Score 985 631 606 611 760 605 725 667 606 634 663 675 676 626 574 517 505 658 596 615 664 639 Percentage 100 68 65 66 82 65 78 72 65 68 71 73 73 67 62 56 54 71 64 66 71 69
  • 42. About dotCommerce Affordable, flexible – total ecommerce dotCommerce offers the key advantages of an off-the-shelf ecommerce solution – affordability and fast deployment. The unique difference is, we can tailor dotCommerce to fit your specific business needs, just like a bespoke solution. So you enjoy the best of all worlds. Developed by the creators of dotMailer - the much loved, leading email marketing platform – dotCommerce is designed to fit the needs of any business that wants to reap returns on their investment in online retailing. Outstanding value, proven performance Whether you sell 10 products or thousands of products, dotCommerce comes in a choice of flexible packages so that what ever your set-up and goals dotCommerce will deliver outstanding value to your business: A fully managed set up We’ll handle all the work and technical issues for you – from scoping and spec, to wire frames, design, tailoring, deployment and hosting Unbeatable ongoing support Our client care team are here to make your life easier Future-proof, flexible and extensible features and functionality It’s easy and affordable to grow your site as your business needs grow Includes dotEditor – powerful CMS for page creation and editing Easily manage all your site content Includes a free dotMailer Enterprise licence – worth £995 For powerful, integrated email marketing and triggered emails Entry level pricing – with access to enterprise level functionality Interested? Get in touch for more details and pricing. Call us on: 0208 239 1146 Send us an email: info@dotCommerce.co.uk Visit us online: www.dotCommerce.co.uk dotDigital Group PLC No. 1 Croydon 12-16 Addiscombe Road East Croydon. CRO OXT www.dotdigitalgroup.com Hitting the Checkout 2009/10 - The dotCommerce benchmark study of ecommerce site performance Page 42 Part of the dotDigital Group PLC

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