Study: E-Tailers Flunk Themselves

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E-tailers gave their industry a failing grade of 58 for their overall satisfaction with online shopping, a new survey of 273 industry executives revealed yesterday.

ForeSee Results, a customer satisfaction management firm, and Internet Retailer conducted the study.

ForeSee Results said the study employed the methodology used by the University of Michigan to compute its American Customer Satisfaction Index. The average score for companies and services rated by the ACSI is 73, and the ACSI brick-and-mortar retail score is 74.8.

Findings from the ForeSee study include: E-retailers indicated disappointment with supposed fundamentals such as site navigation (54) and setting up online accounts (55). Among the elements that e-retailers rated highest were the online ordering process (68), site functionality (66) and content (64).

ForeSee Results said the benefit of using the ACSI methodology is that the survey can determine which features and functions will have the biggest effect on user behaviors such as customer loyalty. It said the results show that as consumers, the e-retailers themselves are most influenced by the image they have of a retailer -- how trustworthy and established a company is and what it does online to show it values site visitors.

Also affecting user behavior is the ability to browse products; however, on many sites, product browsing remains limited. Image and product browsing received low marks, meaning they are priorities for improvement.

Though these e-retail executives gave low satisfaction scores, more than 90 percent of those surveyed indicated that customer satisfaction is important to their organization.

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