Consumers are more price sensitive during an economic recession.
Consumer satisfaction with e-commerce sites has dropped in 2009 compared to a year ago, an index of the top online retailer shows.
Out of a possible 100 points -- with 100 representing the highest possible score -- the top 100 e-commerce sites recorded an aggregation score of 73, down 3 percent from 2008, according to the Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results and FGI Research. Of the top 100 sites, scores for 55 sites dropped year-over-year, while only 16 increased.
The report suggests that the decline in satisfaction threatens to hamper online retail's recovery just as the rest of the economy shows signs of improvement. "When times get tough some retailers continue to focus on the customer, others go into their cost-cutting mode. It's more about not improving," Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results told ClickZ Stats in an interview.
One notable decline: Apple.com. It scored 75 on the index, down 6 percent from last year, putting it behind 25 other companies, including Dell.com, Walmart.com, and HPshopping.com. "Apple's expansion into cell phones has been a boon for the company, but it may be having trouble serving a different customer base on its website," the ForeSee Results study stated.
Consumers are also more concerned about prices than in past, trumping convenience or shipping terms in terms of importance. "Historically people were not overly price sensitive. Starting last fall it became higher on the list," Freed said.
"That turned out to be good news for more value and discount retailers who have seen more benefit to their scores. Kohl's is a good example, Costco is another," Freed said. Kohl's score improved from 72 to 76, a 5.6 percent increase. Costco increased from 72 to 74, a 2.8 percent year-over-year change.
"A valued customer pays back dividends, not only in loyalty, but in long-term recommendations," Freed said.
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.The report lists 94 e-commerce sites, for the remainder of retailers ForeSee and FGI Research was unable to get statistically significant scores.
|Top Retail Sites by Customer Satisfaction, Spring 2008 and Spring 2009|
|Web Site||Spring 2008||Spring 2009||Change (%)|
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