British fashion outlet New Look has been crowned the UK’s leading retailer in terms of delivering a multichannel customer-centric approach and stand-out overall online shopping and parcel shipping experience, according to a new study of the UK’s 100 largest online retailers. 

Conducted by post-purchase communication experts parcelLab, the in-depth study assessed the performance of each retailer by making purchases and monitoring the service received throughout the customer journey from browsing to purchasing to delivery. The general picture was that customer centricity stopped after checkout, leaving customers to fend for themselves during shipping. However, certain retailers, such as New Look, stood out as the best performers.

Other retailers chosen for special praise were ASOS for ‘Best Checkout Experience’, The Fragrance Shop for ‘Best Shipping Process’, Zara for ‘Best Delivery’ and Chain Reaction Cycles for ‘Best Returns’.

“New Look was named the best overall performer due to its multi-channel customer centric approach. It creates a smooth customer experience, including guest checkout and wish listing,” explained parcelLab founder and CEO Tobias Buxhoidt. “We were also impressed with its mobile optimisation. Throughout the customer journey browsing, navigation and contact with New Look was excellent.”

Shoppers also receive one of the best post-purchase experiences through fast click and collect, as well as next day, evening, weekend and nominated day delivery options. Customers can also buy a delivery pass for £19.99, which provides unlimited next-day delivery and click and collect for a year. 

“The fashion retailer also partners with a range of delivery providers to create a best-in-class service, and communicates well with customers throughout checkout, delivery and returns, including letting customers know when their parcel has been delivered and their return received,” said Buxhoidt. 

Although clearly impressed with New Look, parcelLab also identified two areas for improvement. 

“Integrating its track and trace page into its online shop would help drive customers back and encourage future purchases,” explained Buxhoidt. “Meanwhile, building cross-selling options into order communication emails, such as offering discounts and suggesting complementary purchases, would help to increase dialogue with customers, build loyalty and further drive sales.”

Although New Look performed well overall, the general picture among the UK’s top 100 online retailers was one of focusing on customer acquisition over retention, and neglecting customers once they have spent their money. For example, only 11 were found to communicate directly with retailers during shipping, only 12 offer free shipping regardless of spend, only 42 offer weekend delivery, and only 25 allow customers to choose a time slot. 

“The study shows that the main focus is on perfecting the customer journey prior to checkout,” said Buxhoidt. “While most retailers are equally matched in their service offerings pre-checkout, there are much higher discrepancies post-purchase. With most customer service enquiries made after checkout, a smooth post-purchase experience is paramount for customer loyalty, retention and repeat purchases.”

More insights can be found in the full parcelLab UK E-commerce Shipping Study, available here: