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Which? survey reveals best and worst online shops

Liz Earle rated top of the shops in latest survey

Which? asked more than 14,000 Which? members about their experiences with 96 different online retailers to find the best and worst online shops for 2012. 

Scoring 94% overall, LizEarle.com has coming top of the shops for a third year running. The natural skincare and cosmetics brand was followed closely by high street favourite John Lewis, while online giant Amazon came in third place.

Bottom of the pile was PC World’s online store, which scored a lowly 51%. And DIY.com, B&Q’s web shop, didn’t fare much better, with a score of 54%, and just one star for website usability.

To see the full table of results, check out the full Which? online shops survey.

Room for improvement 

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd says: ‘With household budgets squeezed, it’s no surprise that many more consumers are doing more of their shopping online, with seven out of ten people saying they shop online for cheaper prices. 

‘But it’s clear some online retailers need to raise their game, with people complaining of delays with deliveries, faulty items and poor stock availability. 

‘Although we’ve found many are providing excellent customer service, we want to see the rest not only meeting the minimum fair trading rules but catching up with the best.’

Online shop scores

Overall customer scores for each online retailer are based on customers’ satisfaction with the store the last time they shopped for a product on the site. The survey also gives customer ratings for price, product stock, delivery, website usability and the returns process, with these score tables divided up by category. Members can log in to see star ratings for every shop in each of the following eight categories:

> Books, CDs, DVDs and Computer Games
> Clothes, Shoes and Accessories
> Cosmetics, Haircare and Toiletries
> Electrical Items (excluding mobile phones)
> DIY and Garden Products
> Outdoor and Leisure
> Furniture and Homewares
> Baby and Child

Shop online to save money 

The Which? survey found that shoppers go online because it’s cheaper, easier to compare prices between shops and easier to find items. Respondents said that price was the most important factor when choosing a website to buy from, and that the most frustrating elements of shopping online were delays with deliveries, receiving faulty items and poor stock availability.

This research follows an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation into retailers who are failing to meet online trading regulations. The OFT has written to 62 retailers after a check of 156 websites found problems including unreasonable restrictions on refunds, inadequate contact details and unexpected charges at the checkout.

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