Study: Online shopping experience improves

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The overall online shopping experience has improved since 2005 as more retailers adopt industrywide best practices for design and usability, according to a new study released by Blast Radius.

The second annual edition of The Best Online Shopping Experiences evaluates the online shopping experience at the top 100 online retail sites from a customer's point of view.

Online merchants are now challenged to differentiate themselves based on customer experience since so many have adopted industry best practices, according the study. Some opportunities to create differentiation are: creating a seamless experience across all channels and stages of the shopping experience, enabling and encouraging customer participation to offer new value to shoppers and innovating based on unmet customer needs.

Many cross-channel retailers are striving to provide consistent customer experiences, however this is one area that poses logistical challenges, according to Blast Radius, Vancouver, Canada. For example, many major multichannel retailers that post rich media catalogs online do not allow customers to click through purchase items online.

For the second year in a row, Amazon.com was identified as the best online shopping experience, based on their continued dedication to customer experience. Some of Amazon.com's recent innovations include social networking capabilities, tagging, customer blogs and discussion boards, all of which enable user-generated content and a stronger ability for customers to engage and participate.

The biggest gain in customer satisfaction compared to last year was made by Buy.com, which moved 98th place last year to third place this year. The online retailer's gain was based on an improved overall customer experience and a willingness to present a range of innovative features including RSS feeds.

The complete list of 10 best online shopping experiences is:

  • Amazon.com
  • Walmart.com
  • Buy.com
  • Bestbuy.com
  • Tigerdirect.com
  • Macys.com
  • Newegg.com
  • Smartbargains.com
  • Overstock.com
  • Williams-Sonoma.com
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