GfK SirValUse (now GfK’s User Experience team) conducted a benchmark study comparing five online shops with the largest reach within the GfK Connected Life Panel, a panel which continuously monitors 10,000 participants’ browsing habits. Conducted during actual use, 750 panel users were interviewed regarding their experience and rating of Amazon, eBay, Otto, Neckermann and Tchibo, upon entering the site. The research highlight was the combination of quantitative survey data and automatically gathered usage data via proprietary software. The software allowed researchers to track longitudinal browsing behaviour as well as place event-based surveys within user journeys.
Studies conducted at the time of use, i.e. upon entering the website, have the advantage that users have a strong memory of the highs and lows. We are then able to understand how users experience competitors' websites, what goals they achieve, and what stumbling blocks they encounter, thus answering the key questions website owners and market researchers have when optimizing their website design.
Fundamental user motives when visiting the website
Users' motives for visiting the sites differed significantly: We found 64% of Tchibo’s visitors went there to browse, while 27% of Amazon’s visitors browsed, but also potentially intended to buy something.
Is there potential for optimization in e-commerce?
Yes! If we have a look at the results for goal attainment, we see that not everything runs smoothly; only about two thirds of the visitors stated that they had reached their goals. This was largely due to not finding a product of interest, not being satisfied with the product's price, or unavailable products.
User experience is an important factor for goal attainment, satisfaction, loyalty and buying intention. The easier it is for users to reach their goals, the more satisfied and loyal they will be. Therefore, the better you understand visitors' goals and why they might not reach them, the more likely they will become satisfied customers.
Who is currently ahead of the others?
For each site, we created a profile including: KPIs goal attainment, satisfaction, intention to return, buying intention, and recommendation. Deviations from the means show each website's strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the competitors. The data answered the questions: Where are users most successful? Which website has the most satisfied customers? Which website would users most likely recommend?
Of the customers who reached their goals, Amazon and eBay performed best. Customers reacted to this with high satisfaction and loyalty scores. OTTO and neckermann.de present a different picture. Nearly 10% of visitors were unable to reach their goals on these sites. Amazon, eBay, and Tchibo were also rated better when it came to finding information on products or being easy to browse.
Three percent – this figure circulated as a conversion benchmark on the internet in 2011. However, the figure does not reflect:
Only 11% of visitors actually arrive with a buying intention. Of those 11%, about 20% did not achieve their goal
15% actually considered buying a product after they had reached their original goal of finding information
The large proportion of visitors who simply looked around (33%) or only looked for information (11%), as well as those who only potentially intended to buy something (15%), clearly demonstrates that purchase decisions are made over a longer period of time, not only during a one-time visit.
The study's survey and measurement data also showed that several competitors are considered when it comes to a purchase decision.