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More Retail Web Sites Getting High Scores On E-Retail Satisfaction Index

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ANN ARBOR — A record 36 of the top 100 online retailers achieve the “threshold for excellence” on the annual Top 100 E-Retail Satisfaction Index from customer experience analytics firm ForeSee.

Scores of 80 or higher on ForeSee’s 100-point scale are considered superior customer satisfaction performances. In 2010 and 2011, 28 Web sites achieved this distinction, while in 2009 only six websites cleared the mark. The Index in aggregate plateaus, scoring 78 for a third consecutive year.

“We’re measuring the biggest players in the game, and they just keep getting better and better,” said study author Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “Because customer satisfaction, as we measure it, is predictive, that’s a good sign not only for the consumer experience, but for the bottom line of internet retailers as well. If there’s a negative spin to these positive trends, it is that this puts even more pressure on all other e-retailers to keep up or catch up.”

E-commerce stalwart Amazon continues to set the bar higher, climbing three points to 89, and four points higher than the second highest scoring Web sites, Apple.com (85) and QVC.com (85).

Apple is also one of the most improved sites from last year, surging five points, as did RueLaLa.com. Foot Locker (79) and JCrew.com (78) each jump four points, and 11 e-retailers improved three points. Netflix is four points down from a year ago, but it regained two points from the Index’s holiday season measure.

“Amazon continues to set the standard for e-retailers. The truth is that every consumer who has visited Amazon knowingly or unknowingly benchmarks all other experiences against it, and why wouldn’t they? They do everything and they do it well,” said Freed. “That is going to spell even bigger trouble for Netflix. The two companies used to vie for number one. Now Netflix is floundering just as Amazon is making deeper moves into streaming video and even original programming. Netflix regained some lost ground, but it’s no longer a contender.”

ForeSee has been producing the Top 100 E-Retail Satisfaction Index since 2005, providing a track record of performance over time, and dozens of companies have registered large improvements since they were first measured in the Index. Home Depot has improved the most, improving 10 points since it was first measured, while Costco and Kohl’s have added eight points.

The measured retail industries include apparel and accessories; books, music and video; computers and electronics; food and drug; home improvements; mass merchants; specialty and non-apparel sites; and misellaneous sites.

The study uses ForeSee’s technology, which is based on a scientific methodology created at the University of Michigan and shows that higher satisfaction leads to improved loyalty and likelihood to make future purchases. In addition to individual satisfaction scores for the top 100 e-retailers by revenue as measured by Internet Retailer, the report quantifies the likely future behaviors of website visitors, including their likelihood to purchase online or offline and proxies for loyalty such as likelihood to return to the site or recommend. When compared to dissatisfied customers, highly satisfied website visitors — those who score their experience 80 or higher — report being 72 percent more likely to purchase from that retailer’s website and 56 percent more likely to make the purchase through another channel.

“Highly satisfied Web site visitors are nearly 70 percent more likely to recommend the Web site to others than dissatisfied customers,” Freed said. “In the modern world of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, it is even more imperative to provide the best experience possible to your customers because any experience has huge potential to be amplified, for better or for worse.” As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee continuously measures satisfaction across customer touch points and delivers critical insights on where to prioritize improvements for maximum impact. Because ForeSee’s superior technology and proven methodology connect the customer experience to the bottom line, executives and managers are able to drive future success by confidently optimizing the efforts that will achieve business and brand objectives. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers. Visit us at www.foresee.com for customer experience solutions and original research.

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