Retail Digital Benchmark results; what makes a winning digital experience this Christmas?

Steve Brockway

December 18, 2018

Since 1999, Maru/edr have been benchmarking the online retail landscape over the crucial Christmas trading period to unearth best practice and understand what makes a winning digital customer experience.

And this Christmas is no different.

Our unique methodology uses regular online shoppers to evaluate the end-to-end user experience across a selection of leading retail sites. Looking at everything from first impressions through to delivery and customer care, the results allow us to pinpoint key features of a winning digital customer experience.

2018 Christmas Winners

The winners of this year’s retail benchmark study were sites who provide a seamless experience across devices, enable easy buying off the page and offer a consistent journey across offline touchpoints, including returns and customer contact.

Despite hitting the headlines recently with lower-than-anticipated – but still positive – growth of 14%, it was online fashion pioneers ASOS who top the league table.

Maru/edr Retail Benchmark 2018 leaders

They not only offer a great customer experience across desktop and mobile but also maintain a good performance across customer contact touchpoints, including live chat.

What makes ASOS’s online experience so great?

Maru/edr analysis shows that ASOS offer an industry leading customer experience across five key areas:

  • Site search
  • Product pages
  • Returns
  • Customer contact
  • Offline partnerships

ASOS offer users an intuitive site search that combines predictive text with a number of available results integrated. It means users can quickly and easily find highly relevant products for the items they are looking for across both mobile and desktop devices.

ASOS best-in-class search function combines intelligent predictive text and number of results available


Detailed product pages

Users rated ASOS’s product pages exceptionally high. Feedback focused on the quality and range of images available for every item available, removing a key barrier to purchase.

Our experience working across digital retail means we understand the importance well-presented product images, coupled with detailed information, play on the path to purchase.

Surveyors particularly liked ASOS’s extensive product details, including:

  • Individual product details, including fit
  • Size and height of model used in images for comparison
  • Brand and product story sharing inspiration behind the design
  • Detailed material and care information
  • Clear pricing with supporting fulfilment costs and options

After sales care

ASOS have long been singled out for their exemplary delivery and returns process.

Reviwers were particularly impressed with the range of returns options available, including pre-printed Royal Mail labels keeping the process offline and extremely convenient.

As an online specialist, ASOS were often criticised in the past for not offering more wide-spread customer care options, such as telephone.

However, Maru/edr’s results highlight that traditional customer service channels – such as phone and email – are no longer key for customers, so long as online touchpoints – such as Live Chat – are executed effectively and efficiently. For example, surveyors rated ASOS’s Live Chat service very highly thanks to short waiting times, ability to resolve issues quickly and the friendly tone and manner of agents.

Emerging Digital Customer Experience trends

Retailer’s face increasingly tough trading conditions – and the announcement from ASOS this week demonstrates that it’s not just high street retailers that are feeling the pressure.

The digital customer experience has never been so important. According to online retail trade body IMRG, consumers are shopping around and comparing products and prices more than ever – it has never been so fundamental to a retailer’s bottom line to get the online experience right.

When it comes to replicating digital experience best practice, Maru/edr insight highlights the need for retailers to increasingly deliver against four growing trends:

1. Seamless optimisation; retailers who didn’t perform so well in the Maru/edr report often did so because of poorly optimised mobile sites. Retailers must consider and prioritise what information to show mobile customers so they can buy ‘off the page’ with confidence

2. Predictive text; Driving customers to the right products is key in turning browsers into buyers. Intelligent predictive search text with accurate and relevant results is an increasingly popular feature with shoppers and now standard of leading sites

3. End-to-end customer journey; online shopping doesn’t end when users exit the site. Our analysis shows that a simple-to-use returns process can make or break the end-to-end customer experience and will drive long-term loyalty

4. Delivery choice; provide a range of fulfilment options that offer a choice of timescales and delivery methods that meet varying customer needs. Even pure players like ASOS are partnering with bricks and mortar retailers to increase clikc and collect options and drive further convenience for customers

Register for your exclusive report

Our industry-renowned Retail Benchmark report will be released in early 2019. Containing the full league table, expert analysis and best practice recommendations, it will be crucial to ensuring your digital customer experience is the very best it can be.

We’re offering all Maru/edr contacts the opportunity to see the results before anyone else – simply register your details below to claim your copy before general release.