Department stores must up e-commerce game, ParcelHero
Many department stores’ websites suffer from clunky integration and poor delivery choices, according to ParcelHero.
Its new study, Departing Department Stores, analyses the perilous state of the department store sector and ranks the sites of many of the UK’s best-loved High Street names. ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks, comments: “While it was touch and go who took top honours, a worrying number of department stores scored significantly low marks – and several still only sell larger items through jarring ‘white label’ websites – a clunky relic of the last decade.”
Marks & Spencer’s boss Steve Rowe might have criticised the speed and competitiveness of his website this week when announcing the retailer’s annual results, but its e-commerce offering was the only one to score all ten available points in ParcelHero’s test. John Lewis was pipped to the post by just one point. Both retailers scored top marks for the range of products available on their site and ease of use, with the M&S site only fractionally slower. John Lewis missed out on equal full marks for deliveries by charging for Click & Collect items under £30.
Fenwick scored just two out of ten points, unsurprising, as you cannot actually buy anything from it. The, albeit attractive, pages simply tell you what is available in its shops. For a chain of ten major stores, including Bentalls of Kingston, this is astonishing, ParcelHero argues, though an e-commerce site is promised before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, House of Fraser (seven points) and Debenhams (also seven) don’t offer an integrated site for all purchases. Items such as Debenhams’ large electricals are on a ‘white label’ site operated by Buy it Direct (which formerly ran the old BHS’ electrical site), and House of Fraser dining tables and sofas switch to the A. Share & Sons site. The join for both feels clunky and several purchasing and delivery options are entirely different.
Jinks says: “Other stores’ delivery options really let them down, with no free deliveries until you have spent a sizeable £75 for Beales (six out of ten) who were also marked down for menu issues and lack of obvious Click & Collect online. That still beats no free deliveries at all quoted by Harvey Nichols (six), who charge a steep £6 for all orders and a hefty £10 for next day. With Amazon orders free for Prime Members and for items over £20 for non-members, Harvey Nic’s is in danger of disappointing its loyal customers.”
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