Like the Merchandisers group in general, the primary objective of General Merchandiser sites is 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 effective 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 General Merchandiser 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 to determine the winner overall. This case study announces key findings for the General Merchandiser industry segment based on Website Usability and Website Usability by Dimension scores.

The websites evaluated in this segment include Costco.com, Dillards.com, JCPenney.com, Kohls.com, Sears.com, Target.com, and Walmart.com.

Industry Findings 

First, a qualification: Every General Merchandiser site is missing content from at least one benchmark sub-category that may be peripheral to user objectives but is a competitive requirement because the related features are provided by the majority of sites on the overall Merchandisers roster. The sub-categories where content is most frequently missing from General Merchandiser sites include Press Coverage / Information, Corporate Information, and Channel & Alliance / Partner Marketing. One site also forgoes Investor Relations Information.

Naturally, sites that are missing resources are at a disadvantage in those areas, which means they need to excel in other sub-categories to compete. On the other hand, every General Merchandiser site is missing content from at least one benchmark sub-category, so even the best overall score isn’t that high.

But, a close look at scoring by sub-category and Dimension discloses that missing content isn’t the only factor affecting scores. The sad truth is that some General Merchandiser sites just don’t do well — even in areas where resources are delivered.

In the end, the overall usability for this group is Below Average. So there’s plenty of room for improvement on General Merchandiser sites. The quickest path to increased scores and improved websites is the addition of resources in the areas where they are currently missing. But General Merchandiser web teams shouldn’t stop there. Instead, they should also focus on site areas that presently provide sub-par user experiences as visitors attempt to accomplish common goals.

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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

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