February 24, 2006, 12:00 AM

Customers’ satisfaction with e-retailing goes up again

Customer satisfaction with e-retail, online auction, e-brokerage and online travel companies improved 1.3% to an aggregate score of 79.6 of 100, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Commerce Report.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

After a slight dip last year, customer satisfaction with e-commerce is going up again. Customer satisfaction with e-retail, online auction, e-brokerage and online travel companies improved 1.3% to an aggregate score of 79.6 of 100, according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Commerce Report, which came out this week.

E-retail is performing considerably better than offline retail in satisfying customers, the index reports. According to the ACSI, customer satisfaction with online retail is nearly 12% higher than it is in the overall retail industry. E-retail scores climbed 1.3% from a year ago to 81, while the overall retail industry moved in the opposite direction, dropping 0.3% to 72.4.

Customer satisfaction with e-commerce sites continues to score substantially higher than the national aggregate ACSI, which stands at 73.5 for the fourth quarter, according to the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan, which releases the index. Amazon rose 3.6% to 87, tying it with BN.com for the highest score of all retailers and service providers measured by ACSI. EBay is back to its all-time high of 81, substantially in front of all auction sites. Expedia had the greatest score increase in the online travel category, up 3.9% to 79.

“Some companies have really figured out how to take customer satisfaction to the next level, and the stakes just keep getting higher,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, a company that measures customer satisfaction for online retailers.

The online auction category moves up 1.3% to 78, largely on the performance of eBay.

The 2004 ACSI scores showed that online travel companies were not succeeding in differentiating themselves, but customers began to show their preferences in 2005. After years of parity in the online travel category, Expedia pulled ahead moving up 3.9% to 79. Travelocity and Orbitz each dropped 1.3% to 75 and 74 respectively. “Expedia’s big investments in content, including cruises, packages from popular resorts, and user reviews, seem to be paying off,” said the National Quality Research Center report.

 

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