Amazon, L.L. Bean Top Survey in Online Satisfaction

San Mateo, CA-based Keynote Systems’ latest competitive intelligence study of the online retail industry gives and L.L. Bean top honors for overall customer satisfaction and experience.

Online superstore topped the customer experience rankings, which measures experience and satisfaction across more than 250 metrics, in both the electronics and the books and music retail categories. Amazon’s success, according to Keynote, was driven in part by its visual appeal, clear design and organization, and because consumers were highly satisfied with the site’s product search function. Amazon also topped the e-business management services provider’s conversion index, an indication of how effectively a site converts online browsers into online buyers.

Outdoor gear and apparel merchant L.L. Bean topped the customer experience rankings in the apparel retail sector based on consumer satisfaction with its product offering, as well as overall search and purchase process satisfaction. L.L. Bean also topped the conversion index in the apparel retail market.

According to Keynote’s service-level rankings, sites with the best responsiveness, based on how fast pages downloaded and transactions were executed, include Circuit City in the electronics category, Borders in the books and music category, and Kohl’s in the apparel category.

Topping the rankings for reliability—in other words, sites that experienced little or no downtime—were CDW in the electronics category, Target in the books and music category, and J.C. Penney in the apparel category.

In its findings Keynote pointed out that, in part because traffic load has increased significantly during the past year, many retail sites were having trouble handling their summer visitor loads and were unlikely to be ready to handle the increased traffic of the holiday season. Some major retail sites were having difficulty meeting the industry standard of 99.5% availability, according to the study, and most sites experienced small outages.

The Keynote customer experience rankings study examined the online experience of more than 5,600 consumers as they interacted with dozens of leading retail Websites in June 2006. The service level rankings study examined the technical performance of leading sites by running 6,500 Website interactions with each site between May 19 and June 15. Keynote used its proprietary Transaction Perspective measurement computers to perform the actions of a consumer browsing and making purchases. The agents collected more than 6,500 data points and examined 40 key performance metrics for each site. Keynote analysts used these data points to rank the sites on seven key performance factors that are critical aspects of the operational excellence for online retailers.

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