February 23, 2016, 9:02 AM

Amazon again leads in shopper satisfaction, though its rating slips

Amazon’s rating in the annual ACSI survey slips to 83 from 86. Online retailers remain ahead of stores in pleasing customers.

Lead Photo

Shoppers were less pleased with retailers during the 2015 holiday season than they were a year earlier. But they remained better pleased with online than store-based retailers, and No. 1 e-retailer Amazon.com Inc. again led in overall satisfaction.

That’s according the recently released American Customer Satisfaction Index Retail Report 2015. Known as the ACSI, the report finds that on a scale of 0 to 100, Internet retail remains ahead of the other retail categories, despite a dip in the average e-retail score to 80 from 82 the previous year.

Among the six categories covered by the ACSI all scores dropped, with the exception of gas stations where lower fuel prices brought higher customer satisfaction. ACSI tracked and scored the following six retail categories: department and discount stores (which achieved a customer satisfaction rating of 74), gas stations (75), drugstores (73), specialty retail stores (77), supermarkets (73) and online retail (80).

The declines in retail customer satisfaction “begin to look more like an adjustment rather than a tailspin,” says Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and chairman. “This was because it was a tough environment to compete in. Job security for customer service personnel was hard to come by and everybody was trying harder to please customers. As both job security and employee turnover have increased, the level of customer service seems to have worsened.”

The ACSI Retail Report 2015 is affiliated with the University of Michigan and its results are based on interviews with 9,358 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between Nov. 12 and Dec. 9. “Customers are asked to evaluate their recent experiences with the largest brick-and-mortar and Internet retail sector companies in terms of market share, plus an aggregate category consisting of “all other”—and thus smaller—retailers.”

All five online merchants plus those called “all others” showed dwindling customer satisfaction but Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, still leads with a score of 83 down from 86 in 2014.  The report did not address why satisfaction with Amazon declined. Other retailers with shrinking satisfaction scores include:

  • Entertainment content provider Netflix Inc.’s (No. 6 in the Top 500) score fell to 76 from 79 the previous year. “Netflix raised its subscription price for new customers in October and existing customers will be impacted later this year. Its customers have shown price sensitivity in the past,” says the report.
  • Computer and electronics retailer Newegg Inc. (No. 17) received a score of 79 down from 81 in 2014.
  • Online marketplace operator eBay Inc. had a score of 75, down from 79 in 2014.
  • Web-only merchant Overstock.com Inc. (No. 31) scored 73, down from 77 in 2014.
  • “All other” online retailers achieved a rating of 80, down from 81 in last year’s survey but still up from 75 two years ago. This category includes smaller e-retailers as well as the online channel of bricks-and-mortar retailers, but the report did not list any by name.

Though customers gave web retailers lower marks in the latest survey, e-retail remains far ahead of other retail sectors in serving consumers, the survey shows. In fact, the report finds that Internet retail “excels across nearly every customer experience benchmark. The ease of checkout and payment process (88) is one of the most appealing aspects of the online shopping experience.” By comparison, all bricks-and-mortar categories fall behind, with “checkout speed earning these stores their lowest marks.” For example supermarkets get a 72 for checkout speed, while department and discount stores earned a 70.

Consumers also find merchandise with greater ease and speed online. “Site performance, navigation, product images, and merchandise selection are highly rated at 84.” Customer product reviews (81) hold more sway than site-generated recommendations (77), which “show room for improvement.” Additionally, customer support—such as live chat, help pages and call centers—dipped to a score of 77 from 79 in 2014. 

comments powered by Disqus
Get a Free Subscription to IR

From The IR Blog

FPO

Jeff Sass / E-Commerce

How brands use domains beyond dot-com to attract shoppers

Amazon, for example, posts holiday ads to amazon.blackfriday.

FPO

Will Gensburg / E-Commerce

How to win with online shoppers in Canada

90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the U.S. border and most already shop ...

Advertisement