A consumer panel has crowned Liz Earle the UK’s most user-friendly website for providing a speedy and convenient online shopping experience. The news is slightly out of kilter with findings from Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beauty UK, although it’s worth noting that the consumer panel survey includes brands across multiple categories. When benchmarked against peers in the same category, Liz Earle ranks in the Average class due to its site lacking both content and guided selling features.
Brands often have overwhelmingly large product assortments, so guided selling can simplify search and introduce new products. Guided selling features can take the form of how-to tutorials, interactive product finders, blogs, and style guides. They are prevalent in the beauty industry: 82% of the brands tracked in Gartner L2’s study have adopted them, albeit with varying levels of sophistication.
While Liz Earle neglects guided selling, it does ensure that shoppers can check out easily, offering both expedited shopping and one-page checkout. These features are particularly useful on mobile devices where the screens are smaller. All brands that offer expedited payment do so through PayPal, but none go as far as allowing PayPal One Touch.
Central phone numbers and interactive webforms are the most popular methods of customer service, boasting triple the adoption of live chat. Liz Earle is among the 24% of brands that offer live chat, none of which offer wait times. Although it takes more than good customer service to be crowned king or queen of the online shopping experience, brands will continue to be challenged by generational shifts in expectations for more responsive and effective service.