December 17, 2009, 12:00 AM

Holiday 2009 shoppers are not nearly as satisfied as last year, study says

For the period of Dec. 7 through Dec. 13, ForeSee Results’ shopper satisfaction index dropped to 72.9% from 75.2% in 2008 and 77.6% from two years ago.

Online shoppers may be spending more this holiday season, but so far they aren’t nearly as pleased with the experience as in previous years, says customer satisfaction measurement firm ForeSee Results Inc.

For the period of Dec. 7 through Dec. 13, ForeSee’s shopper satisfaction index dropped to 72.9% from 75.2% in 2008 and 77.6% from two years ago. “Week over week and year over year, there is a clear downward trend across every measurable component, both online and offline,” says ForeSee CEO Larry Freed. “We should be setting a new record every Green Monday, but we’re just not seeing it. There’s nothing positive about a 3% average increase year over year. We are simply not seeing the impressive growth many predicted, and we won’t, based on our data.” Green Monday is an industry term for the online shopping that occurs on the second Monday in December, another peak period.

On the second Monday of this month, ForeSee says that customer satisfaction dropped year over year to 72.5% from 75.7%. “When we see low and declining scores like this and we understand the relationship between online satisfaction and financial success, we have to be worried,” says ForeSee vice president of retail strategy Kevin Ertell. “What’s happening is that those who have been working on the customer experience over the last year are improving it and increasing sales. Retailers who have forced their online channels into static, money-saving mode are going to pay the price for putting customer experience on the backburner during the recession.”

ForeSee uses methodology from the American Satisfaction Index and weekly results from 110 large retail sites to measure its findings. Data was collected from more than 500,000 visitors to top online retail web sites between Nov. 2 and Dec. 14, 2009, including more than 13,000 online shoppers on Dec. 14.

“Industry-wide, this continues to be a disappointing holiday season, but for some there is light at the end of the tunnel,” says Freed. “Those companies that learned from their past mistakes, and used the predictive data found in this study every year to vigorously attack their deficiencies, are not simply seeing a substantial rise in online satisfaction, but in revenue as well. In this tough economy, you can’t do any better than that.”

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