For more than a decade, siteIQ has sponsored the siteIQ eBusiness Index, an ongoing study that benchmarks the performance of leading websites across the IT industry. Each year our analysts audit and evaluate 20 or more prominent sites on the IT web to assess how well they market and sell their products and provide pre- and post-purchase support for their varied audiences. The overall results of these evaluations are posted to our website, siteIQ.net, and detailed Website Content, Usability and Performance results are available to our siteIQ Library subscribers.
As announced earlier this year, however, the siteIQ eBusiness Index will be converted to the siteIQ Usability Index beginning with our 2020 evaluations. Consequently, our 2019 audits mark the end of an era — and will be the last time Website Content and Website Performance are assessed.
This summary announces the eCommerce rankings and ratings based on Website Performance, Total Website Content, and Overall Usability scores awarded during our final 2019 eBusiness Index evaluations.
When it comes to providing online commerce features for visitors, eBusiness Index websites fall into three distinct groups:
- Those that should — and do — provide eCommerce Features & Facilities;
- Those that should — but don’t — provide eCommerce Features & Facilities; and
- Those that shouldn’t — and don’t — provide eCommerce Features & Facilities
The first group consists of sites from the Consumer, Systems, and Software sectors, which often straddle the B2B and B2C sales processes because they offer preconfigured products that apply to both businesses and consumers. Typically, these sites clearly indicate product pricing and offer “add to cart” commerce that allows for immediate purchase of most items — whether subscription-based or tangible — directly on product marketing pages. This allows customers to evaluate, review, and buy all in a single visit to the site.
The second group consists of two sites from the Systems segment — e.Huawei.com and Intel.com — which, like their Systems brethren, offer products that are applicable to both businesses and consumers. These sites buck common convention, however, by neglecting to indicate product pricing and failing to offer traditional “add to cart” commerce on product marketing pages. This approach interrupts the buying process by forcing customers to adapt to unconventional tactics and delaying the ability to make a purchase, which could (and probably does) cause some impatient customers to shop elsewhere.
The third group consists of sites from the Networking and Cloud sectors, which only conduct B2B sales because they offer specialized — often customized — products that are only applicable to business customers. Of course, the complex nature of these products means there’s no such thing as standard pricing and negates the ability to purchase via traditional methods. This precludes these sites from offering any online commerce options and from being scored in this category.
Of course, sites in the first group should rank highest in eCommerce Features & Facilities — and the results of our 2019 evaluations show that they do. What’s more, our results show that sites within the Consumer sector dominate this group. In fact, Consumer sites occupy most of the Top 5 ranking positions on the Website Performance, Website Content, and Website Usability rosters because they achieve scores that qualify for Good or Best Practice status.
Naturally, it follows that sites in the second group should rank lowest in eCommerce Features & Facilities — and they do. The lack of online pricing — and purchasing options — results in zero scores for e.Huawei.com and Intel.com, which puts them in a tie for last place on each of our ranking rosters. More important, these omissions are incongruent with common conventions and put these sites at odds with other Systems competitors.
Meanwhile, sites in the third group face the difficult task of effectively marketing highly specialized products and then convincing visitors to engage with sales to turn them into paying customers. This is far more daunting — and labor-intensive — than tying “add to cart” buttons to a backend system, but at least these sites exclude online purchasing options for all the right reasons.
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About the siteIQ eBusiness Index
siteIQ evaluated the twenty-five Websites listed on the 2019 siteIQ eBusiness Index. These Websites are categorized into five industry-specific segments including:
- Software (Adobe.com, Citrix.com, IBM.com, Microsoft Business, Oracle.com, SAP.com, Symantec.com)
- Cloud (AWS.com, Cloud.Google.com, Salesforce.com, VMWare.com)
- Systems (CDW.com, e.Huawei.com, HPE.com, Intel.com)
- Networking (Cisco.com, Juniper.net, PaloAltoNetworks.com, Riverbed.com)
- Consumer (Apple.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Lenovo.com, LG.com, Samsung.com)
These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2019 edition of the siteIQ eBusiness Index Best Practices Benchmark, which includes 18 distinct categories. Within each category, sites are scored based on three unique criteria:
- Website Content: The content, resources, assets, and collateral provided on any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently identifies & tracks over 1,000 types of Website content and features that represent typical competitive requirements. Within each category siteIQ analysts track the number — as well as quality — of features provided.
- Website Usability: The overall practicality, versatility, usefulness, and convenience of any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently includes 145 metrics that measure usability from the visitor’s perspective. Within each category siteIQ analysts score usability questions based on a strict set of standards to award between 1—100 points per question.
- Overall Performance: The aggregate suitability of any given Website that factors Website Content and Website Usability scores.
The 2019 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2019.
Category: Index Rankings
Class: Website Reviews and Rankings
Websites Profiled: siteIQ eBusiness Index Websites