Large retailers break holiday satisfaction records
Customers of the largest online retailers are more satisfied than ever this year, according to ForeSee Results' annual 'E-Retail Satisfaction Index' report on holiday shoppers.
For the 2009 holiday shopping season, the US index surged by 7% (to 79 on a 100-point scale), reaching a new all-time high. Web sites for Macy's, SonyStyle, The Gap, The Home Shopping Network and Overstock.com posted the greatest increases in satisfaction year-on-year, with all five registering increases of 10% or more.
"The fact that 'price is priority' this year is a reflection of difficult economic times, but e-retail continues to be the bright spot in a dark retail environment, with last year's declines proving to be the anomaly," said Larry Freed, president and CEO for ForeSee Results. "But those gains aren't necessarily shared across the board. These are the biggest retailers on the web, and they've got the ability to invest in the web channel and even meet the price points that consumers are looking for in this economy. Smaller and midsized e-retailers may not be so lucky."
Amazon scored 87 and led the e-retail pack once again, improving by 4% since 2008 and setting a new high score for the index. Eleven e-retailers scored over 80 (which is generally considered the threshold for excellence in studies using this methodology) and none scored below 70. Several companies posted huge improvements, with the most improved among them include Macys.com (up 13% to 79), Gap.com (up 10% to 76) and Overstock.com (up 10% to 76).
The study observed that, compared to a dissatisfied shopper, a highly satisfied online shopper is 65% more likely to purchase online, 44% more likely to purchase offline, 70% more likely to recommend, and 49% more likely to return.
The report also identified which website elements would have the most impact on overall satisfaction if improved. For most companies, improving price (either actual prices or consumers' perceptions of price) ranked higher than merchandise and functionality as customer priorities, although priorities do differ according to company and category.