Online Customer Satisfaction Survey Identifies Strong, Weak Links

HispanicOnComputer-AHighly satisfied shoppers are far more likely to return to a Web site, recommend it and remain loyal to the brand. On average, a one-point change in Web site satisfaction predicts a 14% increase in revenue generated on the Web, according to a study released Thursday. 

The eight annual ForeSee Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index found that highly satisfied shoppers said they are 67% more likely to consider the company the next time they purchase a similar product.

Despite the Amazon cloud serve debacle that left thousands without Netflix streaming movie service on Christmas Eve, continues to set the standard for customer satisfaction, matching the record high score of 88 it set last year.

The report expands from measuring satisfaction with 40 top retailers to 100 this year. Aggregate customer satisfaction stagnates, scoring 78 on a 100-point scale. Although satisfaction with top retailers remains on par, a few big-name retailers such as Apple and Dell fell 4% to 80, and 4% to 77, respectively.

The biggest year-over-year decline goes to, with a 6% decline to 78. and share the distinction of being the losers with a score of 72.

Retailers must tie online product features and ads on their Web site into online ordering systems or risk consumers not coming back to order online. Too many retailers like Anthropologie and Talbots sent "Order Update: cancelled item" notices because they couldn't fill the online order due to over-order sales this holiday season and last -- great for retailers, but bad experience for consumers.

No wonder why two-thirds of retailers point to merchandise as a top priority. While many retailers are focused on price, only seven of the top 100 companies point to price as a high priority for improvement. Some 65 of the sites measured should improve merchandise, from appeal to variety to availability of products, to increase overall satisfaction -- and by extension, sales, loyalty, and customer recommendations, according to the report.

Seven sites improved this year, compared with last, gaining three points or more. After declining in 2011 with a three-point decrease in satisfaction, HSN rebounded five points this year as one of the index’s most improved. Sony Store, Online also rose five points to 79. 

ForeSee based the report on more than 24,000 responses from visitors to the top 100 e-retail Web sites based on sales revenue as reported by Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. The sentiment was collected between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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