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How Amazon, eBay and Etsy Fared in Holiday Customer Satisfaction

Amazon and LL Bean tied for the top spot on ForeSee’s list of retail customer satisfaction during the holiday shopping season, and in its report, the company extolled Amazon’s ability to satisfy customers. Interestingly Amazon has 66% of customers coming to its site with the intent to buy something, and 27% to research, according to the report, which studied 100 retailers, including online marketplaces Etsy and eBay.

The ForeSee Experience Index (FXI) report contains the result of research conducted between November 29 – December 17, 2013 using a panel of consumer households. ForeSee conducted 67,600 surveys to measure customer satisfaction with 100 of the largest U.S. online retailers.

The marketplace scores shown were compiled from the ForeSee Experience Index 2013 holiday report.

ForeSee said measuring satisfaction with the customer relationship helps executives understand the health of that relationship at the company level and highlights where the experience falls short.

While Amazon ranked highly across most measures of satisfaction, QVC (88) beat Amazon (85) in Contact Center satisfaction by three points, while Costco (85) and O’Reilly Auto Parts (85) tied Amazon in Contact Center satisfaction.

When it came to satisfaction scores for the web, Amazon was the highest scoring retail website in 2013 with a score of 88, with ForeSee calling it a “perennial top performer.” The research firm has been measuring satisfaction with retailers’ websites since 2005.

Mobile Is Crucial 
As far as mobile is concerned, ForeSee said Amazon earned the top score at 87, increasing its 2012 score by two points. “Companies that consider Amazon a competitor need to make sure their mobile experience is all it can be, because Amazon is dominating everything mobile. And for companies that don’t consider Amazon a competitor, they need to wake up; soon Amazon will be everyone’s competitor, at the rate they are moving.”

ForeSee said it measured four key elements of customer experience when it came to mobile: functionality; merchandise; content and price. It found that 39% of people came to a retailer’s mobile site or app with the intention of making a purchase, compared to 36% in 2012, and 48% of people intended to research a product.

“Retailers who cannot deliver a quality customer experience in mobile will perish,” it said, and warned that retailers “better get caught up on mobile because it has influence far greater and far sooner than they might have imagined.”

In a section called, “Comparison to frontrunners,” ForeSee wrote, “Amazon may have started as an online bookstore, but it now competes in almost every sizable retail category, from consumer electronics and kitchen hardware to toys and clothing. Amazon’s size and reach make it a formidable competitor to any retailer on the Internet. Most anyone who is doing any online shopping will make a visit to Amazon in addition to other sites they may be visiting, and their expectations are set accordingly. With Amazon setting a new record high for the company in the index, other retail websites have work to do. Amazon is not resting on its laurels and waiting for competitors to catch up.”

The Importance of Measuring Customer Satisfaction
Online retailers track shopper behaviors such as which parts of pages they clicked on, where they came from, how much money they spent and what they abandoned in their cart. “While analysts and journalists tend to focus on the flashier story of whether revenue was up or down, they rarely dig deeper to uncover the reasons why revenue changed,” according to ForeSee.

“Using metrics such as hits, clicks, times spent or revenue to determine how well the online retail industry performed offers good insight, but it also leaves many critical questions unanswered. For example, revenue figures do not reveal the contribution of websites to other sales channels or tell us how to make loyal year-round customers of holiday shoppers. Clicks don’t reveal whether shoppers went deep into a site because they were engaged or because they couldn’t easily find what they wanted.”

It went on to say that a satisfied shopper is far more likely to purchase, remain loyal and engage in positive word-of-mouth recommendations than a dissatisfied shopper.

More information about the report is available on the ForeSee website.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.