Which? rates best and worst online shops

Liz Earle is the UK’s favourite online shop of 2013, while B&Q and PC World are at the bottom of the table, according to the results of a ‘best and worst online shops survey’ by Which?

The consumer magazine surveyed 14,185 Which? members in July 2013 about the online shops they had used in the past six months, including any delivery problems. Customer score is based on satisfaction on their last visit and likelihood to recommend the store. The results are published in the November issue of Which?

Natural skincare and cosmetics company Liz Earle is number one for an impressive fourth year in a row, followed by online fragrance firm FragranceDirect.co.uk.

Third place is shared between housewares specialist lakeland.co.uk and johnlewis.com. Which? said: ‘The much-loved homeware and cookery firm Lakeland moves up a place in the table, earning respect for its lifetime money-back guarantee’ while johnlewis.com ‘is pushed down a place from last year thanks to the success of Fragrance Direct, but it’s still a strong position for the department store’.

But there were some interesting new entrants. Wex Photographic and Toolstation went straight into the top 10, earning praise for their knowledgeable staff and good delivery policies, respectively.

There were also big leaps for perfume specialists Fragrance Direct and Cheap Smells (now Allbeauty.com), both rated for price and delivery

At the bottom was B&Q, which rated second last in 2012, and was criticised for its website being hard to navigate. Meanwhile 2012’s worst performer – PC World – crept up to second last, improving its score from 51% to a slightly less woeful 56%.

Amazon, which was widely praised for its speedy deliveries, range of choice and value, slipped from third to joint 11th, with some customers concerned about the tightening of its free delivery criteria and the recent investigation into its tax affairs.

In the specialist category of furniture and homeware, joint winners were John Lewis & Lakeland. Which? commented: “John Lewis’ customer score shot up this year, making it a joint winner with Lakeland. It scored top marks for delivery and was also rated for its website usability and product stock. Lakeland’s lifetime moneyback guarantee continued to win over customers, although it scored poorly on price.

Third and fourth place are taken by Amazon.co.uk and Amazon marketplace, followed by Dunelm-mill.com, Ikea.com, Argos.co.uk and finally, Achica.com. Although improving its customer score from last year, this members-only luxury brand discount store still came bottom. It scored poorly on stock and price, with customers unhappy about slow delivery times.

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