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Study: Consumer Satisfaction in E-Commerce Slips

  |  May 11, 2009   |  Comments

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 (%)
Aggregate 75 73 -2.7
netflix.com 86 85 -1.2
amazon.com 83 84 1.2
avon 79 81 2.5
drsfostersmith.com 81 81 0.0
newegg.com 80 81 1.3
qvc.com 84 81 -3.6
tigerdirect.com 78 79 1.3
hpshopping.com 79 78 -1.3
llbean.com 79 78 -1.3
shutterfly.com 80 78 -2.5
victoriassecret.com 76 78 2.6
basspro.com 79 77 -2.5
cabelas.com 78 77 -1.3
drugstore.com 78 77 -1.3
jcp.com 77 77 0.0
musiciansfriend.com 77 77 0.0
vistaprint.com 78 77 -1.3
walmart.com 75 77 2.7
bn.com 79 76 -3.8
dell.com 77 76 -1.3
disneydirect.com 76 76 0.0
hsn.com 79 76 -3.8
kohls.com 72 76 5.6
orientaltrading.com 79 76 -3.8
zappos.com 78 76 -2.6
americangirl.com 78 75 -3.8
apple.com 80 75 -6.3
coldwatercreek.com 77 75 -2.6
harryanddavid.com 75 75 0.0
marketday.com 79 75 -5.1
rei.com 73 75 2.7
target.com 73 75 2.7
swisscolony.com N/A 75 N/A
walgreens.com 76 75 -1.3
weightwatchers.com N/A 75 N/A
quixtar.com 74 74 0.0
bestbuy.com 74 74 0.0
costco.com 72 74 2.8
crateandbarrel.com 77 74 -3.9
nordstrom.com 75 74 -1.3
northerntool.com 75 74 -1.3
blair.com N/A 74 N/A
chadwicks 72 74 2.8
scholastic.com 74 74 0.0
aafes.com 75 73 -2.7
allposters.com 77 73 -5.2
peapod.com 71 73 2.8
saksfifthavenue.com 73 73 0.0
staples.com 75 73 -2.7
talbots.com 78 73 -6.4
williams-sonoma.com 78 73 -6.4
ae.com 73 72 -1.4
blockbuster.com 77 72 -6.5
buy.com 72 72 0.0
eddiebauer 76 72 -5.3
gap.com 72 72 0.0
thecompanystore.com 70 72 2.9
lowes.com 72 72 0.0
officedepot.com 72 72 0.0
officemax.com 71 72 1.4
spiegel.com 74 72 -2.7
ralphlauren.com N/A 72 N/A
cvs.com 77 71 -7.8
fingerhut.com 71 71 0.0
macys.com 73 71 -2.7
nike.com 75 71 -5.3
sears.com 72 71 -1.4
sonystyle.com 74 71 -4.1
toysrus.com 75 71 -5.3
abercrombie.com 73 70 -4.1
cdw.com 72 70 -2.8
footlocker.com 73 70 -4.1
ftd.com 71 70 -1.4
overstock.com 74 70 -5.4
safeway.com N/A 70 N/A
smartbargains.com 72 70 -2.8
homedepot.com 69 70 1.4
neimanmarcus.com 75 70 -6.7
rhapsody.com N/A 70 N/A
1800flowers.com 73 69 -5.5
bluenile.com 71 69 -2.8
jcrew.com 71 69 -2.8
restorationhardware.com 71 69 -2.8
shopnbc.com 72 69 -4.2
bidz.com 69 68 -1.4
ebags.com 72 68 -5.6
netshops.com N/A 68 N/A
nutrisystem.com N/A 68 N/A
pcmall.com 67 68 1.5
pcconnections.com 67 67 0.0
urbanoutfitters.com N/A 67 N/A
etronics.com 71 63 -11.3
marketamerica.com N/A 63 N/A
efollett.com 68 62 -8.8

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