iQVC Tops Charts in Online Shopping Survey

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A recent Harris Poll found that iQVC, the online shopping site of QVC Inc., West Chester, PA, ranked first out of 180 online shopping sites in customer satisfaction.


Market research firm Harris Interactive, formerly Harris Black International, Rochester, NY, surveyed 654 online shoppers on their experiences with a variety of Web sites.


Customer satisfaction was based on site appearance, product description, product availability and customer service. Customers were asked to rate each site on a scale of one to 10 and iQVC consistently received an 8 or better in each of the categories.


Other companies receiving top mention included eBay as No. 1 in the auction category. Amazon.com and Books-A-Million tied for first in the book category. Apple Computer and Dell Computer tied at the top of the computer hardware category.


ZD Net, Parsons and Maczone boasted a three-way tie in computer software. DVD Express, Amazon.com and CDNow tied in the music and video category.


TravelZoo was the top site in the general travel category, while Airtran, Southwest Airlines and Continental Airlines tied in the airline travel category. Finally, Mothernature.com tied with iQVC in the health and beauty category.


"What this means is that it proves we have been offering quality, value and convenience for 12 years over television and almost three years on the Internet," said Steve Hamlin, vice president of iQVC. "It also shows that we successfully took the core of our business and transferred it onto the Internet site."


The study is the first issued by Harris and will be done on a quarterly basis. The sites polled were based on Media Metrix' top 500 sites and other sites mentioned by online shoppers. The sample of respondents were selected from Harris's database of 5 million names.


"When we did the pilot study, three or four new sites came up that were not on our original list," said Ben Black, a spokesman for Harris. "The study is designed to give online retailers all the variables they need to compete in the market place."


iQVC's ranking was based on the products categories of health and beauty, electronics, clothing and toys. There were 11 product and service categories overall, including auctions, books, computer hardware, computer software, music and video, general travel and airline travel.


iQVC was surprised to see its high marks in the toy category, which is a seasonal category.


"We found toys to be surprising because our customers are entrenched in the categories of clothing, health and beauty and electronics. Toys are sold mostly in the fourth quarter," Hamlin said. "It is a sleeper category for us, though we do offer a lot of toys online that are not featured on air. In that respect, iQVC is QVC plus more."


iQVC is promoted on the shopping channel by the on-air personalities, while its Web address, www.qvc.com, is constantly displayed on-screen. The Web site features a button that can be clicked to see what product is currently being sold on the air.


"We know that some people will go to the Internet and order a product after they have seen it on television," Hamlin said. "We see spikes on our Internet site for that product and we also see spikes in that product and brand as well."


The Harris study also found that the Internet is being used for gathering information on products, and not necessarily the purchase of products. According to the study, online shoppers were spending four to nine times as much offline as they were spending online.


"This study points out that companies have to take customers to technology, when the customers are ready," Hamlin said.


He added that iQVC is experimenting with streaming video on the site but added that it is only in the early stages of planning and has no announcement about when it might add it.
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