Australian etailers have outperformed their UK competitors in online experience and customer service tests, a new report has shown.
Digital consultancy Practicology has ranked a group of 15 Australian fashion retailers against 10 of their UK competitors for the service they offer in Australia. Criteria were mobile site usability, customer service, delivery proposition, SEO performance and localisation.
Only one UK retailer – Asos – ranked in the top 10 of the retailers overall. Missguided ranked next highest for UK retailers, in joint 11th place.
The Iconic, owned by Global Fashion Group, was ranked number one, followed by Showpo and Asos.
Cotton On came in fourth place followed by Rebel, Bonds, Forever New and Glassons in joint fifth place.
Country Road was number nine and Myer came tenth.
The report said the findings demonstrate how much Australian fashion retailers have improved their online offers in the last few years and how UK competitors are failing to keep up with the experience and services provided including pay later, and next-day and same-day delivery services.
Practicology’s general manager for Australia Merline McGregor said: “It’s great to see that Australian retailers are holding their own against their UK competitors, and often providing significantly better online experiences too.
“However, no retailer can afford to be complacent, and there are some key areas of improvement for both local and international retailers to consider if they want to maximise their online sales. Investment in SEO will drive more consumers to your site, and great customer service will help to convert them into paying customers and retain them too.”
Benchmarks Australian shoppers expect:
Payment methods 100% of Australian retailers in the study offered pay later (though only 20% of the UK retailers did) suggesting it is an essential payment option for the market.
Delivery choice 44% of the retailers reviewed offered same-day or next-day delivery in city areas, including The Iconic, Showpo, Myer and David Jones. No UK brands guaranteed next-day delivery in Australia; Ted Baker has a one-to-three-day timeframe, and charges A$30 for this service.
Click and collect 48% of the retailers offered click-and-collect services through stores or Parcelpoint. Again, all offering this service were Australian – 12 of the 15 Australian retailers.
Live chat and social service 24% of retailers offered live chat, and 24% promote their social channels within their sites’ customer service sections, to provide quick responses to customer queries. Glassons has adopted Facebook Messenger as an alternative to live chat.
Phone customer service Only 32% of retailers provided a satisfactory response to a phone enquiry: 24% had a message asking customers to leave a message or email them instead, and 28% did not publicise a number at all. Six of the 10 UK retailers did not offer a phone number, and the four who did were not offering phone support in Australian business hours.
SEO Just two of the 25 retailers (The Iconic and Missguided) were ranked on the first page of Google search results for at least 40% of their organic keywords. UK retailers outperformed local brands on SEO, and had a higher average score on this measure.
Localisation Only four of the 10 UK retailers were merchandising summer products on their home pages. Scarves, gloves, coats and even skiwear were promoted, even though it was the hottest Australian summer on record.