This post was featured in Innovative Retail Technologies and can be read here.

With both Cyber Monday and Christmas fast approaching, expectations are that we will see the continued explosion of online shopping in the United States. Christmas 2015 exceeded all previous records with online sales rising nearly 13% in November and December compared to the year before, reaching a record $83 billion.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, Aspectiva analyzes consumer opinions from across the web, turning them into comprehensive and valuable insights, helping e-commerce visitors make informed decisions resulting in increased online conversion rates.

Therefore, we were interested in understanding what shoppers really thought about the online retailers in the U.S. and what they loved and hated the most about their shopping experiences.

For retailers, providing a great online experience is crucial. Because although the end of 2015 saw huge e-commerce growth, in-store retail sales fell flat, growing just 1.7%, the slowest rate since the depths of the Great Recession in 2008–2009. Clearly, if retailers can’t provide shoppers what they want online, it is unlikely they will see a substantial growth in sales.

The Aspectiva report utilized Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to analyze over 75,000 opinions from across the web to determine a comprehensive list of the most popular online retailers in the U.S.

Barnes & Noble Ranked Top

Collecting text opinions from across the web, including from reviews, forums, social media, YouTube etc., the Aspectiva analysis found that Barnes & Noble was ranked the best e-commerce site in the U.S.

Barnes & Noble shoppers loved their “fast service” and “competitive pricing.” Their Nook tablet was also a big hit in the research with shoppers enjoying the experience of purchasing books using the e-reader.

Surprisingly, online retail giants Amazon didn’t make the top 5. The key complaints about Amazon according to thousands of online opinions were around “hard to find, incorrect, or defective items,” “inadequate packaging,” and “poor customer support.”

Customer service was an aspect that rated prominently amongst the opinions that were analyzed — both in regard to positive and negative feedback. Newegg, Wayfair, and Nordstrom were all cited as having very good customer service.

Chart

Another surprise in our analysis was Apple, who only featured 9th in the list of 42 retailers. The two most commonly cited complaints against the tech company were the high cost of their products as well as issues with the technology not working properly.

Rounding out the top 10 was Home Depot. Shoppers rated highly their “fast service” but were less impressed with their returns process.

Interestingly, the companies that were rated highest for their returns policy was Walmart, Victoria’s Secret, and L.L. Bean’s e-commerce site.

The Aspectiva report utilized Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning to analyze over 75,000 opinions from across the web to determine a comprehensive list of the most popular online retailers in the US.

Retailer Feedback

Online retailers that are looking to attract more shoppers will be interested to note that shoppers rated “prices,” positive “customer service,” and great “deals” most frequently when giving a positive review about a retailer.

The e-commerce sites that others should look up to include HP, whose “reasonable prices” placed them top of the list specifically for prices. Additionally, Walmart and Macy’s were ranked very highly for the aspect of deals.

Aspectiva also looked at the more obscure aspects that were cited as an indicator for e-commerce sites on what else they could be doing to improve the overall shopping experience.

Coupons are an important driver of online shopping and were included in our analysis. Department stores seem to be leading the way in the coupon category with Kohl’s, Macy’s and JC Penney all featuring in the top four specifically for the ease in which shoppers can redeem coupons.

Shopping by App

Mobile shopping has been a catalyst for online shopping, so it is vital that retailers who want to grow their e-commerce footprint get this right. However, the retailers that were featured highest for their apps were surprising. Although Amazon ranked in the top 5 for mobile apps, it was designer brand online retailer Gilt and then Toys “R” Us who came first and second in this list proving that the larger retailers have some way to go on this front.

The advancement of Natural Language Processing allows us to analyze and understand the opinions of pretty much anything that is being said online. This is a huge opportunity for online retailers to really understand what is being said about them, the expectations of shoppers as well as the aspects of their business that they should be focusing on. In such a competitive and fast-changing industry, it is impossible for retailers to ignore the voice of the shopper.

By Rafi Mendelsohn, Head of Marketing, Aspectiva

Aspectiva analyzes massive volumes of consumer opinions from across the web, turning them into comprehensive and valuable insights. Based on Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies, we leverage User Generated Content to help online shoppers search for the products they want and provide the recommendations to enable them to make informed purchasing decisions. Supporting eCommerce sites across any type of product or service, Aspectiva significantly increases shopper engagement and conversion rates.

For more information visit www.aspectiva.com or email info@aspectiva.com to find out more.