February 15, 2011, 1:37 PM

E-commerce customer satisfaction drops in the fourth quarter of 2010

But a survey shows that online shoppers like Amazon more than any other retailer.

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Customer satisfaction with online shopping dropped 3.6% for the fourth quarter last year, thanks in part to consumer frustration with smaller web merchants, says a report released today by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. But the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon.com, scored higher than any other retailer, including bricks-and-mortar merchants, for customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction for web shopping dropped to 80 last year on a 100-point scale. By contrast, customer satisfaction for all e-commerce, which includes travel and online brokerage services, fell 2.6% to 79.3 in 2010. Customer satisfaction for stores fell 1.6% to 75. The overall ASCI score for the fourth quarter of 2010 was 75.3, down 0.5%. The group blames most of the decline on customer dissatisfaction with government services and also rising fuel prices.

For e-commerce, the group says that larger companies often can do more to please their customers. “Size seems to matter when it comes to ability to price, make concessions on shipping costs and create attractive sales promotions,” the report says.

Amazon scored an 87 on the 100-point scale, up 1% from the last quarter. Netflix dropped 1% to 86, giving up the top spot to Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Newegg, with 84, and Overstock.com, with 83, also were among the leaders in e-commerce customer satisfaction. EBay made the largest gain in e-commerce retail, improving 3% to 81, though the online marketplace still faces challenges. “EBay continues to face customer satisfaction tribulations as a result of putting individual buyers in touch with individual sellers, not all of whom are up to acceptable standards of service and reliability,” the report says.

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