It’s a common sight to see Amazon perched at the top of consumer satisfaction surveys thanks largely to its speedy delivery and massive product range.
But a new survey suggests that it’s not just Amazon that’s delivering an excellent online shopping experience.
In fact, the Nunwood report shows that supermarket customers gave the online experience scores which were higher by an average of 3.9%.
Across the wider non-food retail sector, customers that had interacted with a brand purely online gave the experience on average a 5% higher score than those who had experienced the same brand purely in-store.
Waitrose had the highest differential between its online and offline scores, with e-commerce outscoring the in-store experience by 6.5%.
Nunwood’s UK Customer Experience Excellence report is based on more than 40,000 individual experiences from around 7,500 individuals.
It links six key aspects of experience delivery with commercial outcomes based on consumer intentions towards positive word of mouth and future purchase loyalty.
Nunwood's research tallies with a survey from Tealeaf which found that UK consumers are more likely to use e-commerce than make a trip to a brick-and-mortar store.
The survey of 2,071 adults found that when it comes to making a retail purchase the use of a laptop or desktop computer (83%) actually beats trips to a store (81%).
The difference is most noticeable among respondents aged 34-44, where the difference was 85% to 78% in favour of e-commerce.
In Nunwood's study, Amazon came top for the third year running, followed by John Lewis and First Direct.
The report suggests that consumer preference for e-commerce is down to two main factors.
Firstly, people value their time and effort, and “across the whole report almost one in five people said that the extent to which they felt a brand valued their time was the most important factor in deciding whether they would recommend or re-purchase from that brand.”
This highlights the importance of offering consumers an enjoyable user experience online and reducing the number of steps in the purchase journey.
We often see brands putting up unnecessary barriers, such as forcing registration, which is frustrating for time-conscious consumers and is a common cause of basket abandonment.
It’s not surprising that Amazon frequently comes out on top of satisfaction surveys, as its one-click payment method makes it unbelievably simple to make a purchase.
The second reason Nunwood cites is the fact that e-commerce is a far more controlled environment.
Companies know when they can deliver products and can plan fulfilment around the consumer’s preferences.
In contrast, a range of uncontrollable factors influence the in-store experience, such as long queues, screaming kids and even bad weather.
However it suggests that the most important challenge for multichannel retailers is ensuring that they offer a consistent experience offline and online.
John Lewis achieved high customer satisfaction scores as it has successfully begun integrating in-store, internet and mobile, as well as using Waitrose locations for collections. Personalisation software also helps create unique experiences for each customer.
For more information on this topic, check out our report 'How The Internet Can Save The High Street'.
It contains more than 60 recommendations for retailers who want to succeed in a digital age, covering topics including in-store wi-fi, 'reserve and collect', in-store kiosks and 'pop-up shops'.