Health & beauty retailer Boots has been anointed leader of the multichannel retail race, offering the best user experience across its online, mobile and in-store platforms.
User experience consultancy Webcredible published ‘The 2011 Multichannel Retail Report’, which showed that Boots was best with an 83 per cent score, while Marks and Spencer, Debenhams and Waterstones came in joint second place with scores of 81 per cent.
According to this year’s report, the majority of retailers scored well with 9 out of 15 companies scoring over 50 per cent for their user experience across their multichannel offerings, although a number of retailers with strong websites are not making the most of the m-commerce boom.
Most leading retailers previously performed well in Webcredible’s Online High Street reports of recent years, though some have slipped down the latest chart under the new cross-channel review.
Department store group John Lewis ranked top of last year’s chart regarding retail website usability, though comes fifth in the latest report, despite the rollout of free Wi-Fi in stores across the UK.
Site functionality is not prioritised by many companies, according to Webcredible, and although most websites scored well with regards to effective browsing, poor implementation of search filters is still a problem for most retailers and is acting as a deterrent to consumers.
M-commerce continues to be a useful way to entice customers in-store and retailers whose apps feature a store locator were considered to be outperforming competitors.
Debenhams’ personalised app and barcode scanner also scored extra points for its ability to provide customers with new ways to find and buy products, and technology company Apple scored highly for offering customers the opportunity to make reservations for one-on-one appointments via their smartphones.
Trenton Moss, Managing Director and founder of Webcredible, said: “The explosion of smartphones and mobile internet usage, particularly to shop has completely transformed retailer strategy.
“While it is clear customers will take advantage of whatever method is most convenient, be it via online, mobile app or within the store, retailers must first ensure their customers are aware of each channel available to them.
“Whatever channel customers choose to use, there should be clear signals about other buying methods available throughout the shopping experience to give the best level of customer satisfaction.”
Six out of the 15 companies, however, possessed neither an app nor mobile site indicating a need for improvement.
The consultancy has concluded that there is a lack of cross-channel solutions on offer and believes that building optimised mobile sites and or offering mobile vouchers for use in store or via catalogues will improves retailers’ standing.
“Those that have apps and mobile sites need to do more to draw attention to their existence, and as they do, this messaging must be consistent with the brand itself,” Moss added.
“Retailers need to be harnessing innovative technology available to them in order to continue to merge the boundaries between each multiple channel.”