A new study from ForeSee Results finds that online consumers satisfaction over the holidays declined by 1.3 percent compared to last year—although the causes may have as more to do with factors in the offline world (economic pinch and gas prices) than anything the online retailers did wrong. The study found that online holiday sales rose at their slowest pace ever, while aggregate satisfaction numbers from leading online retailers dropped to 74 out of 100 points.
“Online shopping is still the bright spot for holiday retailers, but lower satisfaction coupled with slower than expected spending growth puts a little cloud over the season,” said CEO president and CEO Larry Freed, in a statement. “In an economy where consumers are feeling the pinch, there’s increased competition for the customers’ dollar. So, it’s even more important for e-retailers to meet their customers’ needs online.”
In addition to overall satisfaction, the survey also found that indicators of consumers’ future behaviors were both down for online retailers, with “Likelihood to Recommend” and “Likelihood to Purchase Online” both declining, although the biggest drop came in “Likelihood to Purchase Offline” slipping 7.5 percent to 62 out of 100. Overall, online consumers were more likely to be satisfied with “pure” Internet companies that do all their business online than they were with multi-channel retailers for whom online sales is just one component of their operation.
In terms of online holiday customer satisfaction, ForeSee Results found the top five companies for the 2007 holidays were Netflix, Amazon.com, QVC, L.L. Bean, and Apple, all of which were unchanged from 2006 except for Amazon, which saw its satisfaction index drop 2.4 percent. The year’s biggest losers of customer satisfaction were SonyStyle.com, Sears, and 1-800-Flowers.com, each losing 4.1 percent in their satisfaction indexes year to year.
And the season’s winners in customer satisfaction? Avon, Zappos, and Costco, which saw increases of 3.9, 4.0, and 4.1 percent in their year-to-year satisfaction indices.
The ForeSee Results study uses the methodology of the University of Michigan American Customer Satisfaction Index (although it is a privately held company) and has collected more than 25 million survey responses from online consumers.
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