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Holiday Season Dragged Online Customer Satisfaction Down

  |  January 11, 2006   |  Comments

Customer satisfaction among online shoppers slid four points between spring and the end of the year.

Online shoppers spent record dollars online during the 2005 holiday shopping season. But according to a report published by ForeSee Results and FGI Research, experiences left shoppers dissatisfied with their online purchases.

Overall satisfaction dipped 4 percent from spring through the end of December 2005. Out of a possible 100, the score fell from 76.7 to 73.5. The winners of the season were Netflix, Amazon.com, L.L. Bean, and QVC. Each held satisfaction scores of 80 or above. ToysRUs, Old Navy, Sears.com, and JCPenney experienced the greatest loss in score, while CompUSA.com, Kmart.com, and Sears.com maintained the bottom of the list.

One challenge e-tailers face is the difficult balance between drawing in new customers and maintaining an existing loyal customer base. Reading the customer is the key.

"Are the people you are attracting able to be converted, can you separate those that have an opportunity to turn loyal versus those that are just shopping for a bargain?" asked ForeSee Results president and CEO, Larry Freed.

Shopping search engines and search engines cause further degradation of an opportunity to build loyalty. Freed calls the relationship between shopping search engines and e-tailers "love/hate."

"They clearly are getting value out of [shopping engines] in many cases. We saw approximately 10 percent of people who were linked from a shopping engine or search engine," said Freed. "Google and others try to put the mindset with the consumers that everything is a commodity, where it comes up on Froogle or Google determines whether I want to buy it or not."

Freed urges e-tailers to build satisfaction levels of customers. "The only true loyalty is earned loyalty, which is driven by satisfaction," said Freed.

The study is based on the top 40 e-tailers listed using the Internet Retailer's Top 400 Guide. It measures satisfaction among online shoppers who visited e-tail sites but didn't necessarily make a purchase. The study also uses methodology developed by the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to measure customer satisfaction for over 30 e-tail sites.

E-Retailer Customer Satisfaction Index, Spring and Holiday 2005
Web Site Holiday 2005 Spring 2005 Change (%)
Netflix 84 85 -1
Amazon.com 82 84 -3
LLBean 80 82 -2
QVC 80 84 -4
Newegg.com 79 82 -4
TigerDirect.com 77 81 -4
barnesandnoble.com 77 80 -4
Williams-Sonoma 77 80 -4
drugstore.com 76 78 -2
Pottery Barn 76 77 -1
Quixtar 76 77 -1
Apple 76 80 -6
HSN.com 75 79 -4
1-800-Flowers.com 75 75 0
Avon.com 75 80 -7
HarryandDavid.com 75 80 -7
Dell 74 77 -3
Old Navy 74 81 -9
hpshopping.com 74 77 -4
Chadwicks.com 73 73 0
Banana Republic 73 73 0
Walmart.com 73 75 -3
Gap.com 73 78 -7
BestBuy 72 75 -4
Neiman Marcus Online 72 75 -4
Eddie Bauer 72 78 -7
Office Depot 72 75 -4
Buy.com 72 71 1
JCPenney 71 77 -8
Overstock.com 71 75 -5
circuitcity.com 71 74 -4
Gateway 71 73 -3
Staples.com 71 75 -6
Target 70 74 -5
SonyStyle USA 69 74 -6
ToysRUs 69 77 -10
FTD.com 69 74 -7
CDW 69 73 -6
Costco.com 69 70 -2
Sears.com 68 74 -8
Kmart.com 68 69 -1
CompUSA.com 67 71 -5
Source: ForeSee Results and FGI Research, 2006

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Enid Burns

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