Australian retail websites deliver poor customer experience

Forrester report reveals seven top retail brands failed the test of providing optimum user experiences

Major brands in Australia are giving customers a below-par online user experience compared to their global counterparts, a new Forrester report claims.

The analyst group evaluated the website user experiences delivered by seven leading brick-and-mortar retailers and found all reviewed sites ranged from ‘poor’ to ‘horrible’. Coles, Harris Farm

Markets, Woolworths, Target, Big W, David Jones, and Myer averaged a score of 0.14 out of a possible 50, struggling across all four categories of the evaluation: Value, navigation, presentation, and trust.

According to the report, no site consistently provided the information users needed to effectively compare products and make an adequately informed decision. For example, the research claimed many sites’ text formatting and layout did not support simple functions like scanning, with users left with no choice but to simply to read production information.

The report also stated most sites reviewed had confusing product hierarchies and poorly implemented product filtering.

Department store websites including David Jones, Target and Myer were found not to filter garment sizes in a user-friendly manner. David Jones’ website was also flagged as suffering from glitches in recognising user selection.

And while NSW-based grocer, Harris Farm Market, had clear product images, the site featured poor text formatting and a font size that was nearly impossible to read, Forrester said.

Despite this, grocery store websites scored better on the whole for user experience, as they were easier to navigate and were better organised in their menu structure and format, Forrester said.

Target also came out on top as the best-performing website in terms of the review, with clear and concise checkout options. This was followed closely by Coles, which was the only website reviewed with a product comparison functionality.

Compared to globally competitive brands that offer flat-rate shipping to Australia and the UK’s mySupermarket on the expansion trail, Forrester found Australia’s major retail brands need to get serious about winning, serving and retaining online customers - or risk irrelevance.

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