January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

This Is A Test Of The E-Retailing System

Since mid-October, Patricia Seybold Group has been testing online retailers' ability to satisfy holiday gift shoppers' requirements for a convenient and complete gift shopping experience. Customers of Patricia Seybold Group's Customers.com have been participating in this test by completing a 50-item survey for each online retailer that they have used. About 100 online retailers have been shopped, says the Boston-based e-commerce consulting firm.

As of December 9, the firm has compiled preliminary results and double-checked the preliminary findings using a specific gift-giving scenario: the ability to find and order multiple gifts to be gift-wrapped and sent out to multiple recipients at different addresses, at least one of which is overseas.

Patricia Seybold Group's preliminary list of the top 10 companies that have done the best job so far in fulfilling this scenario and in providing the most easy-to-use, convenient online shopping experience include Landsend.com, Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, LLbean.com, Etoys.com, REI.com, CDnow.com, Fragrancenet.com, Toysmart.com and Garden.com.

The company indicates that it found Lands' End to be "top-notch" in meeting customers' expectations. Their customer service is "superb," it says. The ability for customers to press a button and talk to a customer service representative from the Web site moved this company to the top of the list, above Amazon.com; however, Amazon.com remains the most frequently shopped site in the survey, Patricia Seybold Group says.

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