Report: Online experience superior to marketplace shopping

New York -- A report released Tuesday by e-commerce marketplace technology provider Merchantry found that marketplace customer experience compares unfavorably to that of e-commerce sites, particularly in regard to comprehensiveness of product information and logistics transparency.

The State of Online Marketplaces report, conducted by Merchantry in concert with the e-tailing group, found that online marketplaces need a lot of improvement before their full potential is realized.

The team reviewed and evaluated 12 sites as part of the study – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy,, Kohl’s,,,, Sears, ShopNBC, TigerDirect and Walmart. Researchers evaluated product listings, pricing, social media, customer service, shipping and return processes.

Key findings of the report include the following:

  • Only 39% of marketplace products could be added to a wish list vs. 83% of retailer-owned products.
  • Gift registry functionality was available on just half of marketplace products.
  •  Retailers that provide free shipping extend the offer to marketplace products only 33% of the time.
  • The majority of online marketplace products do not have social media functionality.
  • Only 50% of marketplace product listings state seller/merchant details.
  • Less than half of marketplace products feature customer ratings.
    Only 20% of product pages have enhanced guides or videos.
  • Out-of-stock inventory notifications are universal but processing times are not often shown.
  • The average time for customers to receive marketplace orders was high (4.57 days) – more than one day longer than the industry average.
  • Conducting marketplace product returns is more difficult as not all merchants include complete return information.
  • Cross-channel services are not in place for pick-up or returns for online marketplace shoppers.
  • Email responses were incomplete or they redirected customers to the marketplace sellers/manufacturers more than half the time (55%).

“Profit-maximizing practices that have become standard in the e-commerce industry are not consistently applied on marketplaces, where we found incomplete product information, limited functionality and inadequate customer experiences,” said Lauren Freedman, president of the e-tailing group.

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