January 17, 2006, 12:00 AM

Sephora has the shortest response time to e-mail inquiries, study says

Sephora.com had the shortest response time to e-mail inquiries of 100 online retailers studied during 2005’s fourth quarter, The E-Tailing Group reported in its 8th Annual Mystery Shopping Study.

Sephora.com had the shortest response time to e-mail inquiries of 100 online retailers studied during 2005’s fourth quarter, The E-Tailing Group reported in its 8th Annual Mystery Shopping Study.

Sephora.com, No. 148 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, responded to e-mail inquiries in 0.42 hours, compared with the 29.69-hour average response time of the 100 sites shopped, according to the study. The other top retail sites ranked by shortness response times were Bluefly (1.03 hours), SmartBargains (1.43 hours), Brookstone (2.3 hours), Crutchfield (6.08 hours), Finish Line (17.08 hours), J. Crew (17.2 hours), Tower Records (19.75 hours), and Ann Taylor (22.73 hours).

Although the average response time to e-mail inquiries increased, more of the responses were personalized, the study found. In addition, questions were answered correctly more frequently (83% vs. 79% in 2004).

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