January 17, 2013, 4:10 PM

Luxury brands trail Amazon in customer satisfaction

But mobile could help high-end retailers make gains, ForeSee says.

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Luxury e-retailers tend to trail other web merchants on customer satisfaction, according to a new report from ForeSee.

The Luxury E-Retail Satisfaction Index, released today by the company, which measures consumer satisfaction with web sites, scores luxury brands in aggregate at 77 on a 100-point scale of customer satisfaction, compared with non-luxury brands at 78. In a similar study late last year, non-luxury retailer Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, beat even the top-rated luxury brands, scoring 88 versus their highest score of 80, ForeSee says.

“Luxury retailers have some catching up to do with mainstream retailers in terms of measuring the customer experience across all channels and using that data and analysis to impact strategic, tactical and operational decision-making at the highest level,” says Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee.

The luxury e-retail findings are based on more than 3,500 survey responses from consumers visiting luxury brands’ e-commerce sites. ForeSee collected responses in November and December 2012.

Coach Inc., No. 158 in the Top 500, and Tiffany & Co., No. 116 in the Top 500, tied for the high score of 80 in the index, which ForeSee considers the threshold for excellence in satisfying customers. Following those brands, with their scores (and their Top 500 ranks), are:

  • Saks Fifth Avenue (operator of Saks Direct, No. 38) and Nordstrom Inc., (No. 31); 79
  • Hugo Boss, (No. 286); Tory Burch LLC, (No. 240); Burberry Ltd., (No. 388), and Net-a-Porter LLC, (No. 87); 78
  • Ralph Lauren Media LLC, (No. 69), and The Neiman Marcus Group Inc., (No. 41); 77
  • Brooks Brothers, (No. 156), 76
  • RueLaLa.com, (No. 84); 73
  • Gilt Groupe, (No. 49); 72

The bottom two e-retailers are both subscription-based flash sales sites that require customers to register and log in before viewing items. Those extra steps caused their low scores in the index, ForeSee says. A survey comparing just subscription-based sites to one another might result in Gilt and RueLaLa scoring slightly higher on customer satisfaction, ForeSee says.

Sprucing up mobile  offerings might be one way for luxury retailers to cater better to their customers, as more luxury buyers use mobile devices to assist with shopping (36%) than do their non-luxury shopping counterparts (25%), ForeSee says.

“Our study shows that luxury brand shoppers are already adopting the mobile channel faster than non-luxury brand shoppers,” says Eric Feinberg, senior director of mobile, media and entertainment at ForeSee. “It’s now up to those retailers to deliver what luxury customers want from mobile in order to keep them coming back to the brand and to influence purchases across all channels.”

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