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BizReport : Research archives : October 19, 2007

Website usability slips for U.K. high street brands

Over half of the U.K.’s major high street brands are offering a poorer standard of online customer service, found usability consultancy Webcredible.

by Helen Leggatt

webcredible%20logo.jpgWhen it comes to usability, including searching, product display pages, browsing and navigation, 55 percent of the U.K.'s high street brands have performed worse over the last year than they did the year before.

Marks & Spencer and John Lewis both dropped in usability. Marks and Spencer dropped from 81 out of 100 last year, to just 55 this year, while John Lewis dropped 9 points to 62, found Webcredible's report titled "The Online High Street".

“High street retail sales growth is at its slowest rate since 1947, however, demand for internet shopping is at an all time high,” said Trenton Moss of Webcredible. “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 among last year's high fliers.”

The top performing retailers were HMV in first place and Game, which rose 17 places on last year, in 2nd.

The most common problems found by the study were:

- Poor product descriptions and enlargeable images
- No upfront notification of delivery costs before checkout
- No customer support during checkout in case errors occur
- Unobvious “add to basket” button
- Customers not given sufficient help in choosing products
- Lack of, or poor, product filters and sorting options

Tags: customer support, high street brands, U.K., usability

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