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April Rankings of Top 50 Retail Websites

Major name retailers fell further down the table of top 50 websites tested for The Retail Bulletin in April, which is a problem because as online growth begins to slow these retailers will have to address the issues that are dragging down their websites. By Glynn Davis

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April Rankings of Top 50 Retail Websites

Major name retailers fell further down the table of top 50 websites tested for The Retail Bulletin in April, which is a problem because as online growth begins to slow these retailers will have to address the issues that are dragging down their websites. By Glynn Davis

In the bottom 10 WH Smith, Halfords, eBay, Play.com, Boots, IKEA and JD Williams all fell while Waterstones and Mothercare remained in the same lowly positions propping up the table.

This is a serious situation because as online sales growth starts to slow it will be increasingly important for retailers to hang on to their existing customers. And this will only be possible through improved customer experience online.

Tony Stockil, chief executive of Javelin Group, stated at the recent BRC Multi-channel conference that “the early rapid growth phase is over” and that retailers must now concentrate on better serving their existing most valuable customers.

Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse, says: “The worst way to serve your customers is having a site that falls down on many of the fundamentals like broken links, accessibility and slow page downloads. The problem is that this is exactly what many of the websites from the largest retailers suffer from. This is a sure-fire way of losing your existing customers.”

The table this month showed that while the bottom 10 retailers become further adrift, the top 10 seem to be pulling away from the rest of the pack. Among this top flight there were only two fallers – Currys and Harvey Nichols – whereas two stayed in the same place and six moved upwards.

The biggest riser among the top 10 was Comet that moved up 11 places to fourth spot, which highlights a trend for improved performance among the electricals retailers. As highlighted in the March rankings, all three DSGi websites performed strongly.

PC World and Dixons both moved further up the table this month while Currys slipped back two places. This represents a massive improvement on what had been long-term underperformance from the DSGi websites.

This change in fortunes is down to the efforts of David Walmsley, who has been the director of e-commerce at DSGi since October. As part of the group’s Transformation Programme Walmsley had been tasked with improving the online business with a complete overhaul of all three online businesses – Currys, Dixons and PC World.

Walmsley told Retail Bulletin that there had been significant change and that the last piece involved re-launching the sites in February on a new e-merchant platform. “This brings us up to the starting line and we can create a more compelling shopping experience. It’s about good online shop keeping – no broken links, correct prices, checkouts working,” he says. 

He added that there was recognition in DSGi that it needed to take advantage of its scale and its multi-channel proposition. It had for some years been falling prey to the superior online stores of a myriad of smaller online-only competitors.

With its revamped multi-channel proposition, the business will now be able to benefit from the increased customer loyalty that having multiple channels provides retailers.

Laura Wade-Gery, chief executive of Tesco.com, believes this increased loyalty helps directly boost profitability, which has been an issue for online retailers. This was why she says there are still very few quoted online-only retailers - Asos being a rare example.

Although Tesco Direct dropped four places this month it still remains in the top 10, in eighth place, with a score of 4.84 out of 10. This is some way above Asos in 23rd place that scores only 3.40.

This poor performance from Asos is not unusual among the online-only players who Shaw says amazingly continue to under-deliver on their website performance despite this being their only channel to market.

To see the rankings clickhere


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