January 8, 2014, 12:38 PM

L.L. Bean and Amazon are tops in satisfying holiday shoppers

Out of the Top 100 Internet retailers, L.L. Bean and Amazon provided the highest overall customer satisfaction during the 2013 holidays, according to ForeSee. For web site satisfaction, Amazon ranks first, while Basspro.com and CrateandBarrel.com improved the most.

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Amazon.com Inc. has met its match, at least in customer satisfaction.

Although the No. 1 retailer in the Internet Retailer Top 500 took first place in nearly all categories of the ForeSee Customer Experience Index during the 2013 holiday season, it tied with apparel retailer L.L. Bean Inc. for first place in overall customer satisfaction. The two retailers each had the high score of 90 in the 100-point index, which weighs data about customer retention rates, how likely they are to buy more and to buy again from a retailer, and an analysis of how good or bad customers’ online chatter is about a retailer via ForeSee’s Word of Mouth Index. The average overall satisfaction score for the Top 100 Internet retailers was 83. The lowest score, 76, went to travel booking site Priceline.com.

ForeSee collected more than 67,600 surveys about 100 of the largest retailers in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide between Nov. 29 and Dec. 17. The company also ranked those retailers in terms of customer satisfaction for each of e-commerce, mobile commerce, stores and customer contact centers.

“While Amazon is the perennial leader in web and mobile, it is no surprise that we find L.L. Bean at the top, as they have always been a customer experience powerhouse, scoring well in previous web studies—80 or above, the general threshold for excellence in web by ForeSee standards—eight out of nine years measured,” write ForeSee president and CEO Larry Freed and senior director of mobile, media and entertainment Eric Feinberg in their report on the holiday findings.

The retailers directly behind Amazon and L.L. Bean, with their overall scores, are:

  • Apple Inc. and Publix, 89;
  • Liberty Interactive Corp.’s QVC and Shutterfly Inc., 88;
  • Etsy Inc., Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.’s Keurig, Newegg Inc., Scholastic Inc. and Vitacost.com Inc., 87;
  • Bass Pro Outdoor Online LLC, Costco Wholesale Corp., Nordstrom Inc. and Vistaprint NV, 86.

Based on the components ForeSee used to rank overall customer satisfaction—which the firm reports as “company-level” satisfaction—Freed and Feinberg also note that shopper loyalty in general is lacking. Nearly half (49%) of consumers surveyed said the retailer they were answering questions about was one of several they’d considered equally when shopping. “The data show that customer loyalty for retailers is on the decline, yet consumers are satisfied with the top retail brands and had the best experience with retailers who mastered the multichannel experience,” Freed says.

For web site satisfaction, Amazon placed first in the index, with a score of 88 out of 100.  Next closest were Vitacost.com (86), Keurig.com (84) and LLBean.com (84). By category, which is how the index reports web site satisfaction, first-place retailers with their scores for web site satisfaction are:

  • Apparel and accessories: LLBean.com, 84.
  • Automotive parts: OReillyAuto.com, 78.
  • Books, music and video: BN.com, 83.
  • Computers/electronics: Store.Apple.com, 82.
  • Flowers/gifts: 1800Flowers.com, 76.
  • Food/drug: Keurig.com, 84.
  • Hardware/home improvement: Lowes.com, 81.
  • Health/beauty: Vitacost.com, 86.
  • Housewares and furnishings: Williams-Sonoma.com, 81.
  • Jewelry: Etsy.com, 80.
  • Mass merchant: Amazon.com, 88.
  • Office supplies: OfficeDepot.com, 79.
  • Specialty/non-apparel: Shutterfly.com, 82.
  • Sporting goods: Basspro.com, 83.
  • Toys and hobbies: DisneyStore.com, 82.

The average score of the 100 retailers, based on prices, content, functionality and merchandise, was 79. The most-improved web sites year over year were Basspro.com (83) and crateandbarrel.com (80), which each bumped up seven points in the index, ForeSee says.

For mobile satisfaction, Amazon also placed first, with a score of 87 out of 100. Behind it, with scores, are:

  • Apple and QVC, 82;
  • BarnesandNoble.com Inc., Dell Inc., Nike Inc., Nordstrom, PetSmart Inc., Victoria’s Secret and Costco, 81;
  • GameStop Corp., The Home Depot Inc., Kohl’s Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., 80.

Wal-Mart made the most gains in mobile satisfaction from last year, rising three points in the index  to 80, ForeSee says. The average satisfaction score for mobile was 79. The index weighs how likely a customer is to purchase from a retailer on a mobile device, to purchase from that retailer elsewhere after using its app or mobile site, to purchase from that retailer again and to recommend that retailer after visiting it on mobile.

Only in customer contact centers did another retailer top Amazon in the index (excluding stores, which don’t apply to web-only Amazon). QVC came in first with a score of 88 out of 100, three points ahead of Amazon, Costco, O’Reilly Auto Parts and PetSmart, which all scored 85, the index says. Next, with scores, were:

  • Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., GameStop and Staples Inc., 84;
  • Kroger, 83;
  • CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co., 82;
  • Advance Auto Parts Inc., Apple, Dick’s Sporting Goods Inc., The Home Depot and Rite Aid, 81.

The average satisfaction score for customer contact centers, which notes the number of problems resolved and calls required to do so, was 80, the index says.

 

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