Online Shopper Satisfaction Up in 2006

Back when online shopping was in its infancy, pundits and analysts were quick to tout the channel’s benefits for box and commodity items like computing gear, games, books, and consumer electronics, but were equally quick to say online shopping would struggle with products like clothing and apparel where individual preferences are more important and where crucial details—like sizing and color—are difficult or impossible to convey online.

Well, surprise surprise: overall, during the 2006 holiday season, sites offering online apparel shopping have seen their consumer satisfaction rates exceed those of mass merchants and electronics retailers, according to ForeSee Results.

ForeSee Results Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index is produced in conjunction with FGI Research, and surveyed more than 10,000 holiday online shoppers using the same methodology as the University of Michigan’s long-running American Customer Satisfaction Index. Among the findings:

  • Overall, apparel Web sites had a satisfaction indexof 76, compared to mass merchants and electronics retailers at 74.

  • Many sites improved their satisfaction scores from 2005 to 2006, with 24 of the top 40 sites improving their scores, and only seven seeing their scores drop.

  • Top-rated Web sites were Netflix (86), (84), (80), and (80), with Apple and Old Navy tying for fifth at 79.

  • The worst-rated Web sites in the top 40 were (69), (69), and (68)

“What’s remarkable is that the leaders are really working hard to remain the leaders,” said Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee Results. “The top eight retailers from last season either maintained or improved. They aren’t resting on their laurels or giving other retailers a chance to erode their customer base.”

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