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Retail Websites Yield Decline in Consumer Satisfaction

Online retailers are among those having a hard time these days, according to a new study of customer satisfaction.

According to the annual study of the top 40 retail Websites, conducted by Ann Arbor-Mich.-based ForeSee Results, few sites made any strides past last year’s marks. On a 100-point scale, with 80 considered the threshold for excellence, fewer hit that goal compared with last year.

“Only two of the 40 measured e-tailers scored above 80, and more than a quarter scored 70 or below,” Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, said in a statement released yesterday. “Nearly 40 percent saw satisfaction drop year-over-year. That’s just not playing to win in this economy.”

Amazon.com improved its ranking by 2.4 percent and took the top spot with a score of 84. According to the survey, only nine other sites saw a gain in satisfaction, including Wal-Mart, JCPenney and Target.

Among the department store sites covered, Nordstrom fared the best, staying in last year’s position with a score of 74. Macy’s and Neiman Marcus both slipped over last year, falling 1.4 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

Zappos.com declined 3.8 percent to a score of 75, down from last year’s 78.

Scores are based on a survey of more than 9,000 visitors to the top 40 e-commerce Websites, as determined by sales revenue. Freed said prices were a key element of satisfaction, but not the only factor for the consumers polled.

“Consumers were expecting big discounts this season, and price was a pretty important factor, but it’s not the be-all, end-all for satisfaction, even in a recession,” he said. “It’s much smarter for the long-term to improve satisfaction through Web experience improvements than erode brand equity through price cuts.”

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