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Friday, January 14, 2011

E-Commerce Customer Satisfaction Slips Among Large Retailers

The sixth annual ForeSee Results E-Retail Satisfaction Index (U.S. Holiday Edition) slipped by 1 percent to 78 on the study’s 100-point scale (compared to the 2009 holiday season), but is still significantly higher than previous years. The overall decline can largely be attributed to declining scores for some computer and electronics retailers and mass merchants.

“In a recovering economy, a lot of us assume that declining satisfaction is a result of frustration with prices. Our research shows that is not always the case, and that it varies drastically from company to company,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. “Retailers are slashing prices this time of year to attract customers, and not all of them need to be doing that.”

The report includes individual satisfaction scores with the 40 top e-retailers for the past six years, allowing for comparisons over time and between companies. Amazon, Netflix, QVC.com, Avon.com, LLBean.com, Newegg.com and Apple.com are rated by customers as the most satisfying retail websites, each scoring 82 or higher. Altogether, a dozen retail websites had superior customer satisfaction scores of 80 or higher.

The report found that customer satisfaction has a huge and quantifiable impact on the future success of a website. Highly satisfied visitors to retail websites say they are 60 percent more committed to the brand overall, 61 percent more likely to purchase from the retailer online, 35 percent more likely to purchase from the retailer offline, and 64 percent more likely to recommend the retailer than are dissatisfied visitors, according to ForeSee, which analyzes customer data to help organizations increase loyalty, recommendations and marketing value.

“There are few investments aside from improving customer satisfaction that would have the same impact on sales, loyalty, and recommendations, and result in such targeted, actionable recommendations at both strategic and tactical levels,” Freed said.

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