Website Benchmarking in Retail Industry: Wal-Mart vs. Tesco.
La presente analisi è stata presentata dall'autore alla Strathclyde Business School (UK) all'interno del corso di E-Business & International Marketing.
I have analysed the retailing industry (B2C) comparing Wal-Mart and Tesco.
First of all, I’ve tried to identify some key parameters to evaluate these worldwide players.
I made a 2 step process:
1 – identifying key macro-areas for assessing web-sites (i.e. navigability);
2 – finding specific parameters within each macro-areas (i.e. navigability may be measured in terms of no. of clicks but also time to load pages and so on).
Key areas (and specific parameters) for a useful benchmarking:
- Wed design
o Easy to read (clear wording and structuring)
o Nice colours (pure aesthetics)
o Any video/music (to enhance consumers experience);
o Clear organization of the site (is it straightforward where to click to find a specific piece of info?);
o Time to load pages (it has to judge with web design because animate functions and music take longer to be downloaded);
o No. of clicks to go through any page of the site (is the “3 clicks rule” applied?);
o Search engine (Any search engine?);
o On-line catalogue (are prices, photos, product ingredients, promotional activities and product-related info present and clear?)
o Order-processing (is fast placing an order? Are order-taking formats simple to fill?)
o Delivery-status (is possible to track delivery status? How?)
o Payments (is there any protection for on-line payments? Are there alternative way to pay, maybe off-line ones?)
o Touch points/CRM (only a general e-mail or specific e-mails for different problems/issues? Are there further info to get in touch with the company for any info?)
o Any further or innovative feature (that enhance the customer experience?)
The above framework has been built using my own knowledge (especially for specific parameters) whereas for the macro-areas, I have followed the guidelines of http://www.netb2b.com.
PARAMETERS WAL-MART TESCO
Web-designOverall speaking, these two players are far from representing best practices concerning web-design. Few colours, no java animations, no mp3/avi music to enhance the purchasing experience.They should look outside their industry to find a good benchmark from whom gather some aesthetic solutions.Wal-mart is slightly better than Tesco. Easy to read: excellent (space is well organized with distinct sections starting from the head of the page; the need of conveying most of the info from the homepage has been perfectly balanced with the need to be easily readable);Colours: good (even though it is not a masterpiece in terms of chromatic solutions, it has several colours whose mix makes the sites enjoyable, easy to read and positively supporting the brand image)Video/Music: below average (no sound and no animated effects – the consumer experience is far from being enjoyable) Easy to read: excellent (same critics made to Wal-Mart)Colours: average (it uses white and blue; too simple and looks cheaper than Wal-Mart; brand image doesn’t seem enhanced by the chromatic solutions; however the overall effect is not negative)Video/Music: below average (same critics made to Wal-mart);
NavigabilityAgain Wal-mart is better than Tesco.Wal-mart is excellent on every parameters (for loading time and organization can be taken as a “best practice” example both within and outside the industry). The same is true for Tesco concerning the organization. Unfortunately, Tesco shows some clear weaknesses (i.e. no search engine). Clear organization: excellent (the heading shows all the major product categories and just on left you can see sub-categories without moving down your mouse)Loading time: excellent (much faster than Tesco)No. of clicks: good 3 clicks to find a specific item (Bruce Springsteen’s latest record) and four to fill the basket.Search engine: excellent (it is placed at the very beginning so easy to see and it allows a quick search as well as a tailored one using a double window) Clear organization: very good (the score is lower than Wal-mart because the consumers have to move down on the page to look for sub-categories)Loading time: average (not very fast; this is quite disappointing considering that Tesco hasn’t used any video/music tools that could justify the waiting!)No. of clicks: goodsame performance of Wal-MartSearch engine: below average (not found)
E-commerceTesco is a little bit better than Wal-Mart thanks to its excellent on-line catalogue.Other features follow e-commerce standard practices. On-line catalogue : very good (comprehensive info)Order-processing: good (the format is the usual one like that used by Amazon; annoying the fact that the speed is compromised by the fact that the sign-in process for new consumers is relatively slow)Delivery-status: good (there is an area for delivery status info)Payments/Security: good (consumers are made aware of the use of their info and above all they can delete their acoount any time; transactions are secured using the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) technology; it doesn’t allow to pay with other means apart credit cards On-line catalogue: excellent (same as Wal-Mart in term of info but it shows special offers from the very beginning of each product category page)Order-processing: good (same as Wal-Mart)Delivery-status: good (same as Wal-mart)Payments/Security: good (it has all Wal-Mart features)
ServicesAgain Tesco seems better than Wal-Mart. Its touch-points are readily available showing a keen interest and commitment on CRM pratices whereas for Wal-Mart this is an area of surprising weakness. Touch points/CRM: below average(not easy to find “touch-points” to send e-mails)Store Finder: a quick search engine to tell consumers where is the closest Wal-Mart store; Touch points/CRM: excellent (from the homepage you have a link to a page where “touch-points” are divided according to major issues); it could be defined as a “best practice” exampleStore Finder: a quick search engine to tell consumers where is the closest Wal-Mart store;
Extras No particular innovation No particular innovation
I can sum-up the key findings of this competitor benchmarking saying that:
- Wal-Mart shows a higher proficiency than Tesco concerning the technological side on the e-business (better aesthetics, faster speed, excellent web pages layout). However, for most of these aspects (especially aesthetics) Wal-Mart is far from being a “best practice example” outside its industry;
- Tesco is better on most of e-marketing activities (both e-commerce and e-CRM); especially concerning e-CRM can be a rather good benchmark even outside the retailing industry.