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Survey charts inadequacies of UK e-commerce firms

21 March 2011 - 13:15 by David Aiken

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A new study has looked at the ways in which web retailers are failing to meet the standards expected by UK consumers.

The report, conducted by EPiServer, shows that most e-commerce firms are not yet up to scratch when it comes to customer service or social media manipulation.

Over 2,000 people who enjoy safe shopping online were questioned as part of the survey and a total percentage score was allocated to each of the retailers covered in the study, with the average score reaching an unimpressive 63 per cent.

Almost 90 per cent of respondents pointed out that when buying a product they were keen to see reviews from other users attached, in order to help direct their purchase. Only 42 per cent of the retailers covered by the survey actually offer this facility, highlighting the discrepancy between consumer desires and the reality of safe shopping online today.

Where most e-commerce sites were able to shine was in their user-friendliness, with 97 per cent achieving a positive rating for the usability of their systems and 96 per cent getting the thumbs up when it comes to the effectiveness of the tools they provide for searching through available products.

The prevalence of automatic confirmation emails after each purchase and the provision of decent accompanying images for products, were both cited as important by consumers and both turned out to be something in which many UK e-commerce firms excel.

EPiServer spokesperson, Maria Wasing, said that while there were positive attributes of many e-commerce sites, the number of consumers who feel that organisations are not engaging with social media tools, shows that most do not live up to expectations in other areas. This lack of ability to latch onto consumer trends is a shortcoming which needs to be addressed, according to Wasing.