Customers' satisfied with top Internet retailers

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Customer satisfaction with the top 100 Internet retailers is up 1.4% from last year, according to the latest report from ForeSee Results.

Using the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index, ForeSee measured customer satisfaction levels among the top 100 Internet retailers, as determined by Internet Retailer magazine, and found that even as the economy is in an overall pinch, e-commerce retailers delivered an aggregate score of 75.

“In a tough economy, people are going to be generally a bit more discriminating in their purchases and more focused on making a good buying decision,” said Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results. This translates to customer satisfaction playing an even bigger role than usual, he continued.

The good news, therefore, is that a lot of companies increased their score this year, Freed continued. This indicates these top online retailers are paying attention to things like brand awareness, merchandise availability, site experience and price.

Several online retailers experienced significant increases in customer satisfaction levels, including Talbots, with a 6.8% increase; CVS, up 6.9%; Crate and Barrel, up 5.5%; Neiman Marcus, up 8.7%; Toys ‘R' Us, up 5.6%; SonyStyle, up 5.7%; and Macy's, up 5.8%.

“Generally, how well a site is communicating about the brand has the biggest impact on satisfaction levels,” Freed said. This is followed by merchandise, site experience and price.

In the example of Neiman Marcus, the company “is really focusing on improving functionality and improving the experience,” which is translating to higher customer satisfaction levels, Freed said.

There were, however, also some losers. Target posted a 3.9% decline in customer satisfaction, for example. “Certain companies have a tougher time in a tough economy based on who their customer base is,” Freed said.

Netflix.com, QVC and Amazon.com continue to lead the list, with scores of 86, 84 and 83 respectively.

The report also compared customer satisfaction by channel, with manufacturers posting a 3 point increase for a total score of 76. Internet pure plays had a score of 74, catalogs/DRTV a score of 76 and retail chains a score of 74.

“Across the board, manufacturers are realizing more and more the potential value of their Web sites,” Freed said.

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