In Black Friday week, when online retail comes into its own, we look at how the top retailers’ sites compare.

Online retail scorecard

Black Friday has rapidly established itself as one of the biggest promotional periods of the year, and retailers will have worked hard to ensure their websites are up to the challenge.

But as ecommerce grows, successful selling online requires retailers to be at the top of their game all the time.

Here, online retail specialist Summit identifies the best and worst online retailers on four key measurements.

Ease of buying

Top five

RankRetailerUser experiencePerformanceWebsite qualityTechnology score
1 Toolstation 66% 90% 73% 75%
2 Sainsbury’s 68% 80% 78% 73%
3 Apple 68% 80% 60% 71%
4 Ikea 58% 80% 70% 67%
5 M&S 88% 25% 73% 64%

Bottom five

RankRetailerUser experiencePerformanceWebsite qualityTechnology score
46 Boots 66% 25% 46% 50%
47 Superdrug 74% 10% 52% 49%
48 Waitrose 60% 25% 64% 48%
49 Ocado 66% 10% 65% 46%
50 Morrisons 64% 10% 68% 45%

Summit scored the homepage, search, navigation, product listing page, product detail page and checkout process on both a mobile and desktop to give an overall mark for each site’s user experience.

Summit benchmarked each website against the best practice load times for desktop and mobile using mobitest and GT Metrix; which gave a score for site performance.

Summit then evaluated the quality of the website, looking at the various technologies used to make shopping online easier.

Closeness to customers

Top five

RankRetailerSearch visibilitySocial engagementBrandMarketing score
1 Apple 96% 77% 64% 85%
2 B&Q 92% 74% 69% 83%
3 Argos 100% 53% 96% 81%
4 John Lewis 100% 54% 73% 79%
5 Sainsbury’s 80% 63% 80% 73%

Bottom five

RankRetailerSearch visibilitySocial engagementBrandMarketing score
46 Very Exclusive 31% 60% 54% 45%
47 Dorothy Perkins 57% 22% 50% 42%
48 Miss Selfridge 50% 32% 40% 42%
49 Ocado 47% 24% 68% 40%
50 Evans 29% 39% 31% 33%

Understanding how to get to the top position on the search engine results page for relevant search terms is the holy grail of online marketing.

Summit scored both the natural search and paid visibility for the top 50 retailers using Searchmetrics to give an overall mark for each site’s brand visibility.

Summit scored brand demand, particularly the growth and decline of brand name searches, which shows us which retailers are still popular with their customers.

Summit benchmarked each retailer’s social media engagement, reviewing Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Appeal to customers

Top five

RankRetailerContent & promotionProductConversionTrading score
1 Miss Selfridge 94% 89% 96% 92%
2 JD sports 88% 92% 94% 91%
3 Amazon 75% 99% 88% 89%
4 Marks & Spencer 84% 85% 96% 88%
5 JD Williams 95% 86% 81% 87%

Bottom five

RankRetailerContent & promotionProductConversionTrading score
46 Currys 67% 80% 53% 69%
47 Carphone Warehouse 67% 72% 45% 63%
48 Game 43% 68% 67% 60%
49 Toolstation 45% 49% 81% 56%
50 Aldi 54% 46% 71% 54%

Summit mystery shopped the websites of all the top 50 retailers.

It scored the effectiveness of the site in terms of persuasive site content and promotional messaging.

Summit benchmarked retailers’ product offerings alongside the strength of their product pages, including descriptions and photography.

It scored the checkout process of all the top 50 retailers to assess who was most effective at getting browsers to convert to customers.

Delighting customers

Top five

RankRetailerCustomer servicesDeliveryReturnsService & logistics score
1 Argos 75% 88% 100% 83%
2 Tesco 78% 86% 88% 82%
3 Ocado 81% 83% 75% 81%
4 Sainsbury’s 81% 76% 75% 78%
5 New Look 81% 65% 100% 77%

Bottom five

RankRetailerCustomer servicesDeliveryReturnsService & logistics score
46 Ikea 39% 48% 85% 47%
47 Dorothy Perkins 13% 68% 100% 43%
48 Miss Selfridge 13% 68% 100% 43%
49 Harrods 44% 30% 85% 42%
50 Topshop 13% 60% 100% 40%

Summit mystery shopped each retailer, checking the site for customer service information and testing how quickly and accurately they responded to queries across live chat, on email, on site entry forms and social media.

It scored the delivery services on offer and the returns policy against best practice to see who meets today’s customer expectations.

Retailers who scored highly put customer convenience at the forefront of the logistics and service strategy.

Methodology

The sample of retailers were chosen based on Retail Week’s top 50 UK retailers by overall sales revenue 2014/15. Group retailers were broken up into their individual brands and scored separately.

All scores were gathered by Summit between 10 October 2016 and 21 October 2016.