Many Online Retailers Failed to Satisfy Customers This Holiday Season

A survey of customer satisfaction with top retail Web sites during the holiday season is shedding light on which online retailers will thrive in 2009 and which could be facing an uphill battle.

A survey of customer satisfaction with top retail Web sites during the holiday season is shedding light on which online retailers will thrive in 2009 and which could be facing an uphill battle.

Amazon.com and Netflix continued to delight holiday shoppers online while customer satisfaction with Web sites for Circuit City, Gap, Home Depot, Home Shopping Network, Neiman Marcus and Overstock.com is below industry standards, according to the annual Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results and FGI Research.

ForeSee used the predictive methodology of the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index to examine how successful the top 40 retail Web sites are at encouraging loyalty and purchase intent. All 40 Web sites are rated on a 100-point scale.

The study found that a highly satisfied online shopper is 73 percent more likely to purchase online, 38 percent more likely to purchase offline and 75 percent more likely to recommend a site than is a dissatisfied shopper.

Highlights of the report include the following:
* The only two online marketers that scored greater than 80 on the study’s 100-point scale were Amazon.com and Netflix; both received an 84. QVC came next at 79.
* Ten Web sites improved online shopper satisfaction since last year’s holiday shopping season. The most improved were Walmart.com, which increased 5 percent to a score of 78, and Shopping.hp.com (Hewlett-Packard), which improved by 7 percent to 76.
* Forty percent of the sites measured saw satisfaction decline year over year. The largest declines were for HSN.com, down 9 percent to 69, and Gap.com, which fell 7 percent to 69.
* Five of the six e-retailers that scored 69 this year had lower scores in 2008 than in ’07.