News Release

New Cisco Study Reveals How Traditional Retail Sites Compete Online With E-Tailers

Cabela's Outranks Major Retailers As Leader In Providing Best Online Shopping Experience
Aug 01, 2006

SAN JOSE, Calif., August 1, 2006 - Cisco Systems® today announced a benchmark study that reveals new trends in online shopping sites. Cabela's, the foremost outfitter for hunters and fishermen, won high marks for best shopping experience, edging out other retail giants such as Best Buy, Costco, Target and Wal-Mart. The study was conducted by Cisco's Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), a business strategy consulting group that works with clients around the world to transform the way they do business.

"Leading retailers understand that 'customer experience' is the next competitive battleground," said Mohsen Moazami, vice president of retail IBSG, Cisco's business consulting group. "This study illustrates how a compelling online customer experience drives sales to and through the store via improved channel integration. Ultimately, a company fosters a more loyal customer base, and customers are inclined to spend more."

With online sales growing five times faster than store sales, IBSG benchmarked 20 major U.S. retail sites and analyzed the buyer's experience throughout the entire shopping lifecycle. Included in the study were the top 10 U.S. Web retailers, several of the nation's leading big-box and discount retailers, along with a half-dozen chief e-tailers. The assessment focused on five major categories of Web capabilities: ease of use, personalization, content, transaction and interaction.

The study looked at two different aspects of online shopping from a consumer's point of view: foundational capabilities-non-negotiable "must-have" characteristics-and emerging capabilities, which are the more sophisticated aspects that add even more value to the customer's experience.

Cabela's, known well to the outdoor community, came out as a clear leader, providing a strong online look, feel and brand image consistent with store and catalog experiences. At the same time, the company performed well in back-office processes such as shipping and returns processing. The rich, dynamic information online provides shoppers visibility into store inventory. In fact, customers traveling to stores can log on to find the GPS coordinates and the best places to park their RV. Cabela's attracts and retains customers through its relentless focus on hunting and fishing information, with seamless links to state Fish & Game Websites, regulations and destination details. In addition, it offers an extensive selection of state-of-the-art products with robust product reviews created by customers, not just product vendors.

Taking interaction to the next level, Cabela's fosters community by hosting talk forums where customers share perspective and insights about their favorite hobbies. The site's FAQ section also solicits feedback to ensure the information provided meets the needs of customers.

Leading the way in the category of foundational capabilities are Cabela's, Best Buy,, REI and Sears. The following are highlights of stores in this category:

  •, JCPenney, Target and Wal-Mart allow users to search for gifts by age, gender or event.
  • Eighty-one percent actively solicit customer feedback at multiple points throughout the site.
  • Fifty-seven percent have gift registries or wish lists.
  • Fifty-seven percent allow users to order online and pick up at the store.

By moving beyond mere transactions to customer interactions-engaging shoppers more frequently and in a more dynamic manner-these retailers are setting the standard and simultaneously improving the bottom line.

In the category of emerging capabilities, the leaders are, Cabela's, Wal-Mart, Office Depot and the Home Depot. Highlights included the following:

  • Sixty-seven percent of companies in this category allow consumers to shop all or part of the site in a minimum of two languages.
  • Sixty-seven percent offer suggested services (such as product installation, warranties and monogramming/personalization).
  • Fifty-two percent use online video to help sell products or services, or to enrich the user's experience.
  • Forty-eight percent allow shoppers to compare prices online.
  • Forty-eight percent provide some level of visibility into store inventory.

While foundational capabilities enable many retailers to be successful on the Web initially, it will be emerging capabilities-content, interaction and channel integration- that will determine the top U.S. Web retailers by 2010.

Cisco Systems IBSG works across multiple industries to align business objectives with business process, technology, competitive strategies and culture to deliver a tailored vision and roadmap for success. As organizations are charged with increasing revenues and productivity, IBSG works with them as they advance their business models to focus on customer experience.

The study is available online at