Like the Merchandisers group in general, the primary objective of Internet Retailer sites is pretty clear: They must effectively market and sell products, encourage visitors to add items to their cart, and entice them to make a purchase. This means that these sites must provide clear and compelling marketing content combined with prominent calls to action that lead to uncomplicated eCommerce features.
To assess how well prominent sites in this industry achieve these objectives, the siteIQ team conducts Usability Index evaluations using the Internet Retailer version of the siteIQ Best Practices Usability benchmark. This benchmark includes 228 questions across four major categories and eleven distinct sub-categories.
These questions measure the overall practicality, versatility, and convenience of any given website. A second review recategorizes the 228 questions into 16 unique Usability Dimensions that illustrate how sufficiently each website allows users to achieve everyday tasks, objectives, and goals.
The results of these evaluations allow the team to rank and rate each site based on category — and sub-category scores — and to determine the winner overall. This case study announces key findings for the Internet Retailer industry segment based on Website Usability and Website Usability by Dimension scores.
The websites evaluated in this segment include: Amazon.com, eBay.com, Etsy.com, Overstock.com, Poshmark.com, and Shopping.Google.com.
When we added the Merchandisers industry to the Usability Index, we felt certain that Internet Retailer sites would perform well since online selling is their forte — and we unanimously agreed that Amazon.com would be the hands-down winner within the Internet Retailer sector.
Imagine our surprise then, when the results of our inaugural Internet Retailer evaluations proved us completely wrong. In fact, Internet Retailer sites actually score average at best — and eBay.com is the winner overall.
And, the surprises don’t end there. Poshmark.com and Shopping.Google.com perform so poorly their overall scores don’t warrant a Competitive Rating, and the overall Usability average for the group doesn’t even break 55%.
Interestingly though, a look behind the numbers shows that a lack of resources is the culprit for low scores more often than poor usability. Shopping.Google.com and Poshmark.com are both missing content from at least four sub-categories that are considered a competitive requirement but are peripheral to core objectives. Naturally, this means that these sites aren’t as well-rounded as their competitive brethren, which puts them at a disadvantage — and adversely affects scoring for the entire group.
On a positive note, this look also discloses that the bulk of Internet Retailer sites typically register average sores in most other areas. Better still, some quick math shows there are five sub-categories where at least one — and up to five — Internet Retailer sites fall just shy of the Good Practice target. Additionally, there are nine dimensions where three or more sites miss the Good Practice target by a slim margin. This means that some Internet Retailer sites are useful and effective — but fall shy of performing at optimal levels.
At the end of the day, however, the divergent performance of tracked Internet Retailer sites means that usability varies wildly across these venues — and that overall scores range from average to poor.
The good news is that increasing usability on most Internet Retailer websites wouldn’t require a ton of work since the heavy lifting has already been done. That said, the teams managing these sites may be of the mindset that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” and have decided that their existing websites work well enough.
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About the siteIQ Usability Index
siteIQ evaluated the 32 Merchansider Websites listed on the 2020 siteIQ Usability Index. These Websites are categorized into four industry-specific segments including:
- Specialty Retailers (AutoZone.com, BedBathandBeyond.com, BestBuy.com, DicksSportingGoods.com, DollarTree.com, GameStop.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, OfficeDepot.com, OReillyAuto.com, Shop.AdvanceAutoParts.com, TractorSupply.com, Ulta.com)
- General Merchandisers (Costco.com, Dillards.com, JCPenney.com, Kohls.com, Sears.com, Target.com, Walmart.com)
- Apparel (Burlington.com, FootLocker.com, Gap.com, Macys.com, RossStores.com, Shop.Nordstrom.com, TJMaxx.TJX.com)
- Internet Retailing (Amazon.com, eBay.com, Etsy.com, Overstock.com, Poshmark.com, Shopping.Google.com)
These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2020 edition of the siteIQ Usability Index Best Practices Benchmark, which tracks results in 11 sub-categories and 16 Usability Dimensions.
The 2020 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2020.
Category: Index Rankings
Class: Website Reviews and Rankings
Websites Profiled: siteIQ Usability Index Websites – Finance Industry