December 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Consumer satisfaction with retail sites drops in the week before Christmas

For the week ending Dec. 25, shoppers’ satisfaction with online retailers in ForeSee Results’ Benchmark index fell 0.5% to 77.4 points on a scale of 100.

Consumers went online in record numbers to shop this holiday season, but not all of them may be going back. Customer satisfaction with retail web sites dropped during the last week of pre-holiday shopping, which also indicates a decline in shoppers’ loyalty, according to ForeSee Results` weekly Holiday Shopping satisfaction Benchmark.

For the week ending Dec. 25, the aggregate satisfaction score for companies in the benchmark index fell 0.5% to 77.4 on a 100-point scale. “Satisfaction drives loyalty, so retailers who kept holiday shoppers satisfied are more likely to benefit from future business,” says Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results. The last days leading up to the holiday present a huge challenge for retailers who haven’t figured out how to maintain customer satisfaction levels during that critical time, says Freed. But while this year’s trends in lowered satisfaction and key behaviors tied to loyalty repeat last year’s pattern, last year’s drops on those measures were more significant, he adds.

The Holiday Shopping Benchmark measures consumers` satisfaction with specific web site elements. Content, site performance and the ordering process saw the largest declines in satisfaction in the week leading up to Christmas this year. Last year, search experienced the largest declines in consumer satisfaction during the same week.

ForeSee’s Benchmark includes aggregated customer satisfaction data from more than 30 e-retailer sites including Cabela’s eBags, Newegg.com, Overstock, Restoration Hardware, Target and others.

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