December 14, 2010, 4:25 PM

Slightly happier customers

Shoppers are slightly more satisfied with online retailers this holiday season, ForeSee says.

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Online shoppers are more satisfied with the overall experience provided by e-retailers this holiday season, according to survey results released today by ForeSee Results, a customer satisfaction measurement firm. From Nov. 22 to Dec. 12, the average shopper satisfaction score was 73.5 on a 100-point scale; a year ago it was 73.2.

“Scores are slightly improved from last year, which is a good sign and a step in the right direction,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. “It is a big challenge to improve satisfaction year over year because as consumers, our expectations change. It becomes difficult to continue to raise that bar in satisfaction,” he says.

Shoppers who visited apparel and accessories sites consistently rate their experiences highly, averaging a score of 77.5 for the holiday time period. Consumers rated their satisfaction at specialty retailer sites at 74.0 and computers and electronics e-retail sites at 64.4. 

Shoppers’ satisfaction rating for the most recent week tracked, from Dec. 6 to Dec. 12, averaged 73.6, up from 72.9 from the same time a year ago. The time period’s average nearly matched the rating delivered for Nov. 22 to Nov. 28—Thanksgiving week—73.7.

Shoppers gave e-retailers their lowest satisfaction scores so far this holiday season the Monday after Thanksgiving, also referred to as Cyber Monday. Shoppers rated their satisfaction that day at 73.1, equal to the rating delivered in 2009. Even though shoppers rated their satisfaction lower than the holiday season average on Cyber Monday, consumers spent an estimated $1.028 billion with e-retailers that day, according to web measurement firm comScore Inc.

ForeSee Results says shopper satisfaction with online retail has been inching up since Cyber Monday’s low. “It will be interesting to see how customers rate site performance this coming week, which could be the heaviest week of the season in terms of traffic volume. Hopefully, retailers have worked out the Cyber Monday kinks by now and can meet and exceed expectations,” Freed says.

The research firm gathers satisfaction scores using surveys consumers fill out at 137 e-retail sites. Consumers rate their satisfaction on four points: site performance, navigation, price and product browsing. Consumers are consistently giving site performance their highest satisfaction ratings this season. Site performance received an average score of 81.1 through Dec. 12, followed by product browsing (76.3), navigation (74.9) and price (72.4). The company considers a score of 80 or above as excellent and scores in the 70s as average.  

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