Customer-Focused Excellence

  |  December 19, 2003   |  Comments

Bryan's holiday gift to you: secrets from his recent retail site study.

Today I'm offering you a holiday gift. Recently, we published a study, "2003 Study for Customer Focused Excellence." It examines 60 retail Web sites for customer focus once the customer had identified the product for purchase. Below, a few things we learned in our study we haven't published elsewhere.

What You May Already Know

Lands' End scored on top with 81 percent. That's a great score. It's unrealistic to expect a 100 percent from any online retailer. Many customers want a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne for the price of a bottle of soda. It's almost impossible to give customers everything they want. Determine what you can give customers while meeting business objectives.

Sears, surprisingly, came in at number nine. Only a short while ago, the retail giant had no idea what it was doing online. It could be the Lands' End acquisition is having an impact on its parent. Some of my contacts at Lands' End confirmed this but preferred not to be quoted.

What Might Shock You

Of 60 retailers studied, 25 percent used font sizes that were hard to read, even for our under-35 mystery shoppers (mystery shoppers were aged 23-55). The online population is aging. Why haven't retailers made default fonts any larger?

Simple. They design before they decide how copy will integrate into the design. They then choose the font size based on what size fits.

There's no excuse for Web page design not to allow for larger font sizes or to offer an option to enlarge the font. Design only to aid in the persuasive process. Decide what to say and how to say it. Only then can you begin to design.

An amazing 23 of the 60 retailers didn't have a return policy or a policy that could easily be found. Of those with a return policy, nine didn't have one written in plain English (grab an attorney to shop with you on these sites).

Point of action assurances are critically important. So ensure they're done correctly.

The Checkout Process

The study only examined online retailers after prospects searched and found the items they were interested in. Checkout is where retailers fared badly. Amazon.com topped many categories in the study, but wouldn't have scored as well as VictoriasSecret.com, for example, if we studied item merchandising and images. Staples would've ranked much lower had we looked at the overall Web site. Our mystery shoppers couldn't keep anything in the shopping cart until they'd registered. And Staples provides tax information only post-purchase, in a follow-up email.

VictoriasSecret, Buy.com, bloomingdales.com, and OfficeMax.Com were among the worst online retailers in terms of checkout process.

When A/B Split Tests Lie

Earlier this year, we did a competitive analysis as a benchmark for a client. Our mystery shoppers found two online retailers were testing third-party stamps, such as VeriSign and the Better Business Bureau. The stamps should have led to a better customer experience, they weren't properly implemented.

Since then, we've checked to see if they fixed the mistakes. They haven't. Both retailers abandoned the concept completely without realizing it wasn't the concept that was wrong, but the implementation. Truly customer-centered companies have the courage of their convictions and make sure concepts work.

What Next?

In our next study, we'll find out how many retailers offer Spanish language translations and if those translations are culturally correct (yes, my cofounder and I speak fluent Spanish). Please send me any questions you think we should ask.

ClickZ Live Chicago Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, Oct 3 to take advantage of Early Bird Rates!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

IBM: Social Analytics - The Science Behind Social Media Marketing

IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising

An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.

Jobs

    • Tier 1 Support Specialist
      Tier 1 Support Specialist (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreThis position requires a highly motivated and multifaceted individual to contribute to and be...
    • Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative
      Recent Grads: Customer Service Representative (Agora Financial) - BaltimoreAgora Financial, one of the nation's largest independent publishers...
    • Managing Editor
      Managing Editor (Common Sense Publishing) - BaltimoreWE’RE HIRING: WE NEED AN AMAZING EDITOR TO POLISH WORLD-CLASS CONTENT   The Palm...