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Survey Says: Kohl's, Costco Make Biggest Online Satisfaction Improvements

Customer satisfaction with major online retailers is on the wane, falling 3% since last year. The big factor: price.

The annual Top 100 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results and FGI Research found the aggregate rating for the top 100 online retailers (by sales volume) was 73 on a 100-point scale. The research, which employs the methodology of the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), is based on surveys of over 22,000 visitors to the top 100 e-retail websites by sales volume.

While price is typically a low-scoring element in the survey, this year it became a bigger factor.

"This doesn't mean companies should start slashing prices, but it does reflect the current mood ... consumers are punishing retailers if they feel prices aren't fair or competitive," said study author Larry Freed, president and ceo of ForeSee. Netflix (85) and Amazon (84) lead all e-retailers for a fifth year in a row.

The largest improvements in customer satisfaction were earned by Kohls.com (+6% year-over-year to 76) and Costco (+3% since last year, and +6% since 2005).

Only 16 of the top 100 e-retailers improved, while over half declined. JCPenney (77) and Fingerhut (71) were flat year-over-year.

Retailers new to the survey included Blair (74), Ralph Lauren (72), NetShops (68), Urban Outfitters (67), and Market America (63).

Customer satisfaction is an indicator of future performance, said Freed. That so many companies lost ground in the survey is "a real canary in a coal mine for future sales online and offline, loyalty, retention, and return visits."

Highly satisfied shoppers are 71% more likely to purchase online than dissatisfied shoppers, and 72% more likely to recommend the website. Shoppers who are happy with the web service are 44% more likely to purchase in-store.

Gainers and Decliners

GAINERS
Rank % Change
Source: ForeSee Results and FGI Research
Amazon 84 1.2%
Walmart 77 2.7
Kohl's 76 6.0
Target 75 2.7
Costco 74 2.8
Home Depot 70 1.4
DECLINERS
HSN 76 -3.8%
Crate & Barrel 74 -3.9
Williams-Sonoma 73 -6.4
Speigel 72 -2.7
Macy's 71 -2.7
Sears 71 -1.4
Neiman Marcus 70 -6.7
Overstock.com 70 -5.4
Restoration Hardware 69 -2.8
ShopNBC 69 -4.2


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