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 (%)|
|Neiman Marcus Online||72||75||-4|
|Source: ForeSee Results and FGI Research, 2006|