Where usability surveys meet marketing
  • Ready-to-wear
    Online merchandising : which topics strongly impact the experience and satisfaction?

    Only 16% of the online buyers declare they never gave up when browsing for Ready to Wear shopping. Such result pinpoints how much there is at stake when the online customer is not up to speed with the user expectations. The competition being one click away, who can really afford to be focusing on the wrong issues on this matter ?

    The competitive benchmark, relying on the principle of "comparing comparable things", provides a direct measure of the topics directly and strongly impacting the customer journey and the satisfaction.
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Results 2011
Each site tested is positioned against its competitors in accordance to its Navigation Performance Score (efficiency of the sites' merchandising) and its User Satisfaction note (induced by the experience online).

It appears that the most international brands did not fully match the users’ expectations.
In terms of efficiency of the customer journey, the gap between the players shows that design choices and product range online are not always easy to combine.
From a satisfaction perspective, the differences illustrate how much a lack of smoothness is all the more penalising for brands with strong positioning.

  "Big" is not necessarily beautiful : Each web site holds a certain level of expectations from a user point of view based on different aspects, which are especially strong for the "RtoW – Clothing" online market.

Efficiently meeting such expectations is the key challenge for any site to contemplate building up some kind of solid loyalty process with the customer.
Solely focusing on the online experience, regardless the Marketing related issues (prices, quality of the product), the Observatory’s metrics allow to materialize the impact of the navigation on the site’s attractiveness.
Quite logically, the sites facing the highest level of expectations, due to their brand awareness, have the toughest job in hand to be up to speed in terms of online experience : some of them didn’t do such a great job.
Results 2012
The competition being one click away never sounded as strong …

When, for more than 8,800 online buyers (who purchased at least 1 clothing item online over the last 12 months, with an average between 4 and 5) only 16% of them declare they never gave up their browsing, the issues at stake in relation to the quality of the online customer experience are set. In fact, 29% of the online consumers admit they gave up often enough, up to once out of twice or even more.

The main reasons identified when giving up are "too expensive delivery service" (65%) well ahead, followed by "missing or unavailable products" (36%) and "prices and promotions not attractive enough" (34%). It is also interesting to note that with 33% the quality of the online merchandising is in a close 4th position (smoothness of the navigation and efficiency of the customer journey) followed by a surprising 26% related to an insufficient payment security. 

Also, a crucial question is what did they do once giving up on the web site they were on ? On this matter, there is little questioning regarding the risk to make the competitors’ day : 53% of the “giving up consumers” went to the competition (48% online, the others in a shop). Only 23% gave a « second chance » to the brand they were using, 60% of them finally deciding to purchase in the shop!    

Online customer experience : competitive review of the sites’ attractiveness…

The second part of the survey involved more than 1,500 female online buyers in a real use situation where they actually navigated on the 12 sites tested to measure their online experience. It enabled to pinpoint the impact of the design and the online merchandising of the different e-retailers on their « attractiveness » as a direct consequence of the navigation in accordance to their expectations and needs. 

In perspective of the data related to the « giving up » frequency, more than ever every detail matters to reassure and build up loyalty with a web user discovering a site. 
Because the Observatory relies on the principle of "comparing comparable things", the competitive benchmark delivers actionable insights on the topics directly and significantly impacting the online customer experience and the satisfaction. 
Beyond the quality of the products and their price, which are obvious key topics to compete on such market, the specific focus is onhow the goods are actually presented and accessible onlineto favour a pleasant and satisfying purchase experience … Overall, as shown on the mapping, Top Shop and River Island are doing pretty well compare to the others in terms of consistency and quality of the customer journey and the satisfaction induced.