Even in a down economy, online retailers drive loyalty and satisfaction.
A retailer's ability to keep consumer's happy is what gives it the edge in today's volatile economy. The "Spring 2008 Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index," an annual report released by ForeSee Results, finds an overall improvement among the top retailers.
The satisfaction index increased 1 percentage point since the 2007 report, to 75 percent. "A lot of companies had increases in satisfaction, and very few had decreases, that's very good news," said Larry Freed, chief executive of ForeSee Results, a firm that offers an online customer satisfaction measurement and management tool.
Four major components drive satisfaction: price, merchandise, availability of products, and brand. Price is thought by some to be a factor, in a down economy. However, other factors supersede the dollar. "What's interesting is when the economy is tough, obviously people's spending habits get curtailed a bit," said Freed.
Netflix continues to be rated as the top online retailer based on customer satisfaction. The online film rental service recently addressed recent delivery issues before most customers were even aware of the problem, which gained the company good favor.
"If you have a problem and you deal with it right away, you actually gain more respect from your customers," said Freed. "Most companies are slow to react."
Investment in customer satisfaction goes a long way, especially in a tough economy, said Freed. "Satisfaction matters and it's what's going to drive financial success. A dissatisfied consumer becomes a liability. Not only are they not going to purchase from you again, they may go out there and say bad things about you. Focusing on satisfying a customer is going to pay off for retailers."
Of sites measured this and last year, NiemanMarcus.com saw a 8.7 percent improvement in score, the biggest percentage increase among the top-rated companies. Among the top-rated sites, eBags.com saw the biggest decline at 4 percent, going from a score of 75 to 72.
The top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index uses methodology of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), developed by the University of Michigan. ForeSee Results collected data from over 20,000 respondents who had visited the top online retail sites within the previous two weeks, but had not necessarily made a purchase.
|Top Retail Sites by Customer Satisfaction, Spring 2007 and Spring 2008|
|Web Site||Spring 2007||Spring 2008||Change (%)|
|Source: ForeSee, 2008|
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