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Satisfaction with retail sites rises - as Amazon continues to dominate

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5th Jan 2010
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A new report has revealed that customer satisfaction with retail websites hit an all-time high in the UK over Christmas, with Amazon UK leading the pack.

Customer satisfaction with retail websites has reached an all-time high in the UK, according to a new study, with Amazon UK once again topping the poll.
Surveying more than 10,000 web users on the top 40 UK ecommerce sites in November and December 2009, the ForeSee Results research found that customer satisfaction with online shopping has shot up 6% since 2008.
Every retailer included two years in a row saw a year-on-year increase, an unprecedented finding in the 10-year history of ForeSee Results research.
Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, suggests that there are several reasons for the spike in online satisfaction in the UK. Firstly, several companies have recently made very public declarations, pledging to overhaul and improve their users’ experiences.
For a full report on the ForeSee Results Christmas 2009 E-Retail Satisfaction Index click here.
johnlewis.com has, for instance, introduced a number of new online elements aimed at bettering the user experience, while MandMDirect.com has redesigned its home page and added new landing pages. “In other words, the companies seeing the large increases have earned them by making customer-centric site improvements,” says Freed.
“Scores were also up more dramatically for first-time visitors than for repeat visitors and since first-time visitors are typically far less satisfied than are repeat visitors, this increase is a good sign that UK retail websites, as a whole, have truly improved their visitors’ experiences.”
Content and functionality improvements
Freed suggests that the study also shows that the overall increase can be partly attributed to improvements to content and functionality amongst the top 40 e-retailers in the UK, or at least to visitor perception that these two elements have been improved. Nevertheless, the two elements with the highest impact on satisfaction in the future are price and merchandise, and so for many e-retailers, continued improvements will hinge on attention to the latter two areas.
In terms of individual performances, the clear winner this year (as it was in 2007 and in 2008) was Amazon’s UK site. Play.com and QVC.com rounded out the top three performers in the UK. Big improvements on 2008’s scores were reported for the aforementioned M&M Direct and John Lewis, along with Debenhams, The Orange Shop and WHSmith.
Ticketmaster UK and B&Q had the lowest scores in the Index, while Dixons, Currys, Freemans, and Littlewoods did only slight better but still fall to the back of the pack.
Freed also fires another warning. “While these numbers are certainly a huge step in the right direction, companies who saw improvements run the risk of being lulled into a false sense of security. Things are not always what they seem, and sometimes, strong increases can mask a more troublesome trend. There is still a long way to go: the United Kingdom’s numbers still trail those of the United States by 10%, and while improvements have certainly been made, many more are yet required.
“The more ecommerce savvy UK residents become, the more they will expect and demand of their online experience. Satisfaction is a combination of what you expect plus what you actually get, and as expectations go up, satisfaction can go down for e-retailers who do not make expected improvements.”

For a full downloadable report on the Foresee Results Christmas 2009 E-Retail Satisfaction Index click here.

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