Survey Says: Consumers Not So Satisfied With E-tailers This Holiday

If you think you did a better job as an Internet merchant this holiday than last, you may want to take a look at your site from 50,000 feet. According to the annual Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results and FGI Research, 40% of e-tailers saw a decline in customer satisfaction.

And that’s a disturbing trend in Larry Freed’s eyes. Freed, president/CEO of ForeSee results, says merchants need to improve their customer satisfaction scores if they plan to retain loyal customers during the recession.

More than a quarter of the merchants came in at a 70 or below on the study’s 100-point scale, which Freed says could damage the reputations of those merchants.

“In a recession, knowing that improving customer satisfaction with your Website can engender that kind of loyalty and purchase intent is like money in the bank,” Freed said in a statement. “Too many e-retailers are ignoring this crucial metric, and it shows in the results of our study.”

Meanwhile, just two e-tailers scored above an 80 – which is considered an excellent score by the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index. Amazon and Netflix both scored above an 84. QVC was a distant third with 79 points.

Only 10 Websites improved online shopper satisfaction since last holiday shopping season. The most improved are (up 5% to a 78) and HP’s online store (up 7% to a 76). Other top gainers include Staples (a 6% increase to s 77) and (a 4% rise to a 75).

The largest declines were for Home Shopping Network (down 9% to a 69) and Gap (down 7% to a 69).

More than 9,000 survey responses were collected from Dec. 1 to Dec. 18 from shoppers who had visited 40 retail Websites at any point within the prior 14 days.