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Customer Satisfaction Rises for Ecommerce, Falls for Offline Retail

Customer satisfaction with retail is down for the first time in four years, but ecommerce was up in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI).

A spokesperson for the ACSI Retail Report told EcommerceBytes, “Internet Retail is the bright spot in the report, as customer satisfaction rebounds 5.1% to 82 after stumbling with holiday delivery the year before.”

The gain was largely the result of an 8% improvement in the aggregate of smaller companies, which includes the online business of brick-and-mortar retailers, because most of the largest pure-play Internet retailers actually declined.

ACSI noted that in the fourth quarter of 2013, delivery problems caused by bad weather left many online shoppers disappointed, while the absence of such widespread problems helped boost satisfaction in 2014.

Amazon remained on top in the Internet retail sector, though it saw a drop of 2 percent to 86, while eBay fell 1 percent to 79 which, along with Overstock (-3% to 77), was below industry average.

According to online shoppers, Internet retailers provide an efficient process for checkout and payment (ACSI score of 87). In general, sites are easy to navigate, pages load quickly, and retailers offer a strong variety of merchandise with useful product images (scores of 83 to 84). Consumers give good ratings to product descriptions (81), shipping options (81), and merchandise availability, including desired models, colors, and sizes (80).

Also of interest – customer satisfaction with department and discount stores stayed flat with an ACSI score of 77. At the top, Nordstrom gained 4 percent to 86, while Wal-Mart dropped 4 percent to 68 to the bottom of the category. With its lowest level of customer satisfaction since 2007, Wal-Mart is now well behind Target (+4% to 80), Meijer (78), and Sears (-5% to 73).

The ACSI Retail Report 2014 also showed Specialty Retail Stores dipped 1.3% to 79; Supermarkets fell 2.6% to 76 as higher prices took their toll; and Heath & Personal Care Stores slipped 2.5% to 77.

The report is available on the ACSI 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/.