Best and worst online shops revealed by Which?UK's biggest survey of online shops ranks 78 sites

28 October 2010

Online shopping trolley

Which? reveals that two specialist websites - LizEarle.com and ChainReactionCycles.com - top the league as your first and second favourite online shops - while Homebase.co.uk and DIY.com (B&Q) were rated the worst of the bunch.

More than 11,000 votes have been cast and 78 sites rated in the UK's biggest survey of online shops from Which?. Cosmetics site LizEarle.com tops the chart with an impressive Customer Score of 94% - meaning customers are likely to recommend the site to a friend because of the excellent service.

The best sites...

ChainReactionCycles.com, a specialist bike site, came a close second with 93% and topped the Sports and Leisure category (see below) - one of eight that feature in our Best (and worst) online shops article that subscribers can see online and in Which? magazine.

Except for JohnLewis.com - which does well in six categories - the best sites are specialist outfits. Online giant Amazon.co.uk only just makes the top 10 overall - but features highly in five of the eight categories listed below.

...And the worst

Home improvement sites Homebase.co.uk and DIY.com (B&Q) were ranked bottom overall, with Customer Scores of 52% and 50% respectively. Both sites got only two-star ratings for price and product out of five stars.

Delivery issues - from overpackaging and delays to time slots that are outside your control - are your biggest gripes when shopping online. Make sure you check the site's delivery policy - including flexibility of delivery times - before clicking 'buy'. 

A site's ability to sort out a problem when things go wrong is key to the order of the ranking. Online shops in the entertainment category - selling the most popular items bought online, such as books and DVDs - posed the fewest problems for customers, with only 4% having experienced an issue with their last entertainment purchase.

Full results of the Which? online shops survey

Click on the links below for the best and worst sites in eight categories, rated by Which? members for price, delivery, product, site usability and returns.

  • Best sites for buying baby products
  • Best sites for buying clothes and shoes
  • Best sites for buying digital entertainment
  • Best sites for buying electrical appliances
  • Best sites for buying toiletries
  • Best sites for buying toys and games
  • Best sites for the home and garden

The best and worst sites for sports and leisure can be found below.

Sports and leisure
RetailerWebsite UsabilityProductDeliveryPriceReturnsCustomer Score
ChainReactionCycles.comexcellentgoodexcellentgoodn/a93%
Wiggle.co.ukexcellentsatisfactoryexcellentgoodn/a88%
Amazon.co.ukexcellentgoodexcellentgoodn/a85%
OnlineGolf.co.ukgoodsatisfactorygoodsatisfactoryn/a75%
CotswoldOutdoor.comgoodsatisfactorygoodpoorn/a73%
SportsDirect.comsatisfactorysatisfactorygoodgoodn/a65%

Table notes

n/a = sample size not big enough
Sample sizes: ChainReactionCycles.com (40), Wiggle.co.uk (57), Amazon.co.uk (190), OnlineGolf.co.uk (35), CotswoldOutdoor.com (31), SportsDirect.com (71). Total sample size: 424

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