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Marks & Spencer offers the best multichannel customer experience across three digital channels, according to a report published by eDigitalResearch.

The eChannel Benchmark evaluated 14 retail brands that have mobile optimised sites and apps as well as a desktop site to find out which offered the most consistent customer experience.

M&S came top with an average score of 86% across the three channels, followed by Amazon (85%), Topshop (84%) and House of Fraser (84%).

The report analyses several different criteria, including the homepage, on-site search, navigation, product pages, shopping basket and checkout.

Here we look in more detail at the search, product page and checkout sections...

Search

Amazon was the top performing retailer for on-site search, thanks mainly to the fact that it offers predictive search terms across all three platforms.

Amazon also scored well for the relevancy of results, the number of filter options and the fact that misspellings are corrected.

Predictive search and spelling corrections are great tools to offer mobile users as it reduces the amount of form filling and frustration at having to re-enter search terms.

To make it even easier, Amazon also offers a barcode scanner in its mobile app so users don’t have to type in anything at all.

We recently blogged 13 best practice tips for on-site search, including the best place to position the search box and how it should be labelled.

Product pages

M&S was the top performing site for product pages thanks to consistently high scores across all three channels.

Respondents liked the fact that the mobile site and app offered large product images and that the colour/size/quantity form was simple to complete. Also, M&S uses a consistent product information and order process across both mobile channels.

The desktop site achieved similarly high scores, as there are several images for each product showing them at a number of different angles. This is an important feature for e-commerce sites as consumers need as much information as possible to make them feel confident about making a purchase.

Furthermore, M&S product pages use a hover to zoom tool on all images and have stock level information for each size.

For more information on this topic, check out our blogs listing five best practice tips for optimising product pages and 10 essential features for creating great product pages.

Checkout

Despite a low app score Tesco achieved the best overall score for its checkout process.

The researchers liked the fact that the purchase process was “straightforward and easy to use”, allowing the customers to edit their order up to the night before delivery and confirming the order on the site and via email.

The report also highlights the fact that Tesco’s mobile platforms have a prominent ‘Proceed to payment’ CTA, consistent branding and stock level information to encourage orders.

However, I recently evaluated at the top 20 UK retailers’ mobile checkouts and found Tesco’s mobile site to be quite frustrating. 

It requires quite a lot of form filling, is information fields are small and fiddly and there are no shortcuts such as a postcode lookup tool.

Other key findings

The eChannel Benchmark Report also provides these findings:

  • App touch points continue to underperform, particularly during the homepage, keyword search and purchase stage of the shopper journey.
  • Mobile (both web and apps) product pages need particular attention to improve overall satisfaction and bring them in line with their online counterparts.
  • Each channel should be tailored to the issues specific to that platform, but still remain recognisable to the brand.
  • Mobile is about making the quick quicker and the easy easier; retailers need to simplify the mobile shopping journey and encourage repeat purchases with ‘one click’ purchases and simple registration processes.
  • Maintain key features that customers have come to expect to make shopping easier; apps with in built barcode scanners are particularly seen favourably with shoppers.
  • Mobile is increasingly becoming the cement that binds the online and store worlds together; by including key features ensures a high performing overall multichannel customer experience.
David Moth

Published 1 October, 2012 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1690 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

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Jerry Smith

Quite surprised to see Marks and Spencer so high up on this list. For business whose core customers are generally a bit older is great to see they are having a proactive approach to mobile.

about 4 years ago

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Maggie Crockett

Surprised about M &S too. Just spent a frustrating hour trying to order stuff for my mother using an ipad. So slow. Filter options are theoretically useful but really slow down navigation. And drop down size selection refused to react on several product pages. Last gripe, you can't buy in one channel and return in the other. All of which goes to show we consumers always expect more than retailers can keep up with!

about 4 years ago

Dean Marsden

Dean Marsden, Digital Marketing Executive at Koozai Ltd

I'm surprised to see some of those in the high scoring positions too. To be honest, although the Amazon search feature is powerful I cannot usually find what I want quickly but that's partly to do with huge number of products available. Same again for Amazon checkout. It has a few too many options for my liking. I think everyone has different opinions on what makes

Agree with your key findings David. Retailers should be focused on matching the quality of their eCommerce sites and apps across all sources.

about 4 years ago

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Rick Harris

Yep - I'm surprised by M&S score too. In our own research, shoppers often find M&S website navigation clumsy and fussy, esp. the filtering as described by other comments here.

I'm amazed Argos does not feature in this Top 14 list.
The ability to shop and collect - i.e. choose an item online, find a local store that carries stock and reserve it to pick up in near real-time is a benefit that even Amazon can't match.
Some 48% of Argos transactions are multichannel - i.e. shopper chooses to use more than one channel to complete their purchase.
For me, this gives shoppers more choice and flexibility to access their goods. It makes me wonder how the scoring of this survey was framed, and whether it was based on consumer need, or simply retailer capability?

about 4 years ago

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