Liz Earle is Which? members’ favourite online shop of 2013 while B&Q and PC World limp into bottom place, according to the votes of thousands of shoppers in our annual online shopping survey.
We asked more than 14,000 members their views about the online shops they had used in the previous six months.
Our survey revealed big differences between the best and worst shops. The top shop picked up an impressive customer score of 95%. While at the other end of the table, B&Q came in with just 55%.
In our full run-down of best and worst shops 2013 we reveal the full list of those which have dazzled customers – and those which have left our members less than impressed.
Worst shops of 2013
Languishing in bottom place was B&Q, criticised by customers for having a hard-to-use website.
One B&Q shopper told us: ‘I had a truly terrible experience with shopping online. The stock availability was incorrect and the whole customer service experience was rubbish.’
2012’s worst performer, PC World, crept up to second last.
A PC World customer said: ‘The whole process was long and not to the standard of other online companies I use. I had to ring to check when the order was coming.’
If you’re looking to buy items such as computers, cameras or kitchen appliances online, check out the best online shops for electricals.
Personal touches win over customers
Liz Earle, the best online shop of 2013, was praised by customers for its personal touches, speedy delivery and free gifts. One said: ‘Items ordered always arrive promptly and individually wrapped, which makes you feel like you are receiving a present rather than a purchase.’
Overall customer scores for each online shop are based on customers’ satisfaction with the store and their likelihood to recommend it to a friend.
The survey also gives customer ratings for price, product stock, delivery, website usability and, where applicable, the returns process.
As well as electricals, shoppers looking for prams, pushchairs or toys can see star ratings for the best online shops for buying products for your baby.
the biggest irritation was being forced to pay for – or paying a lot for – postage and packing
Problems with shopping online
You told us the main reasons for shopping online were because it’s cheaper and easier to find what you’re looking for.
But our research found the biggest irritation was being forced to pay for – or paying a lot for – postage and packing, as well as not being able to choose delivery times.
Issues with shopping online included items not turning up at all, being left somewhere inappropriate and having no choice over delivery slots.
Our survey found that delivery problems can tarnish even the best online shopping experience, with a third of all online shopping issues concerning receipt of the goods you’ve ordered.
Couriers came bottom of the pile when we compared consumers’ opinions and experiences of different delivery methods. City Link fared worse with a customer score of 56%, regular post was the favoured way of receiving online shopping, according to our survey.
Top delivery irritations included items turning up damaged (9%), which was the main gripe, followed by deliveries not turning up (8%), inability to choose a delivery slot (7%) and delivery outside the agreed time (6%).
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: ‘Online shopping has never been more popular with cash-strapped consumers looking for good value and customer service, however the industry falls down when it comes to the performance of its delivery partners. Which? has free, online step-by-step advice guides to help shoppers claim back what they’re owed if a parcel fails to turn up.’
Find out more about your rights on dodgy deliveries using our consumer rights website.