Shoppers disappointed with Cyber Monday
Cyber Monday shoppers were less satisfied this year than they were at the same time last year, according to ForeSee Results' annual benchmark of satisfaction with online holiday shopping.
The study collected responses from more than 350,000 people who shopped online at more than 110 retailers from 24th to 30th November 2009. The company measures online customer satisfaction using the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which predicts purchase intent as well as loyalty and recommendations.
ForeSee Results has been releasing a weekly online satisfaction benchmark for four years in a row, and Cyber Monday 2009 was the lowest level of holiday satisfaction ever recorded. On the ACSI's 100-point scale, satisfaction on Cyber Monday 2009 stood at only 73.1, down nearly 4% from 2008. In addition, satisfaction over the holiday weekend (Black Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) was down nearly 3% year-on-year.
The company also measures several key elements of online satisfaction including factors such as navigation, price, merchandise, product browsing, site performance, and so on. Although priorities for improvement differ from site to site, scores for all of these elements were lower in 2009 than in 2008.
"Perhaps most troubling is what we see when we look at future behaviours," said Larry Freed, president and CEO for ForeSee Results. "The data shows that shoppers are less likely to purchase online and offline this year than in any other year we've measured, which could indicate that the rosy year-on-year revenue figures we've seen so far may not keep up through the holiday season. While we should see a modest increase in overall online sales this year, it will be those retailers that are truly satisfying their customers online who will reap the true rewards."
However, there was a bright spot among the study's findings. Although shopper satisfaction overall was down, buyer satisfaction on Cyber Monday was at its highest levels in four years, suggesting that those consumers who actually purchased items online on Cyber Monday were happier than in previous years, although they still remained less likely to purchase online than in previous years.
"The increasing gap between buyer satisfaction and browser or non-buyer satisfaction is concerning," said Kevin Ertell, ForeSee Results' vice president of retail strategy. "Browsers are a much larger part of the population, and their declining satisfaction could prove to be a major obstacle to the opportunity for growth."
The company's analysis suggests that on e-retail web sites with superior satisfaction scores (i.e. those over 80 on the study's 100-point scale), customers are significantly more likely to purchase online or offline than visitors to sites with customer satisfaction scores below 70.
"In a down economy, successful retailers have more to gain," concluded Freed. "The e-retailers who are doing well and satisfying customers now will be the best positioned to capture the available market share when other retailers fail to meet customers' increasingly high standards and expectations."