Applause, the worldwide leader in digital quality and crowdsourced testing, has today released the global findings of its annual Retail Quality Report. It shows that global retailers are failing to keep up with consumer expectations for optimised digital experiences.

Leveraging primary research from Applause’s industry-leading community of software and usability experts, testing took place on more than 50 top global retail ecommerce sites from Black Friday through to 31 December 2018. In addition, experts went through a specific omnichannel journey (buy online, return in store) in the US, UK, and Germany to compare the experiences of each country creating a global ranking of customer satisfaction.

As part of the research, Applause identified more than 3,000 software bugs and user experience issues, many of which impacted retail revenues during 2018’s ‘golden quarter’ – the busiest shopping period of the year. In fact, just 65 bugs cost top US retailers more than $60 million in lost holiday sales.

UK retailers falling behind US & Germany

The research provided some damning results for the UK retail sector. It won the dubious distinction of generating the highest total bug count, accounting for nearly half (45%) of all bugs found, followed by the US at 32%, and Germany at 23%.

Over half (53%) of all bugs found were classified as severe – potential delayers or blockers. These bugs significantly impacted the functionality of a website, potentially discouraging customers from using the site to complete purchases. Based on the impact to the US market, it was estimated that a single severe bug had the potential to cost a business $915,240
in lost revenue every two weeks.

Each country was given a score based on the user experience provided and overall functional maturity of the websites analysed. The US led the way scoring 7.8, Germany followed with a score of 7.4, while the UK scored significantly lower with just 6.6.

On a global scale, speed and performance of all the major websites analysed fell short of the expectations of users polled: 16% felt the system didn’t respond quickly enough and 14% felt online purchasing didn’t meet expectations. Search results and product pages failed to meet customer expectations, while the shopping cart and checkout process also left customers confused.

Richard Downs, UK Director at Applause, said: “It’s been disappointing to see the UK market perform so badly. Issues identified by our testers ranged from functional errors to poor search relevancy and slow website speeds. It’s clear that UK retailers need to rapidly stabilise their digital properties in order to meet the high bar set by leaders like Amazon.” 

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