U.S. consumers who conducted holiday shopping at Amazon or L.L. Bean were the most likely to be satisfied with their experience this past holiday season, ForeSee’s newly published E-Retail Satisfaction Index indicates.
Released on Jan. 7, the 61-page report drew from more than 67,000 customer surveys to provide a comprehensive analysis of U.S. retailers and new research that aims to illustrate how well these companies encouraged customer retention and promoted upsells during this time.
Amazon was the clear overall winner, placing first ahead of discount vitamin supplier Vitacost and coffee technology provider Keurig in overall online satisfaction with a customer relationship score of 88. The study ranked retailers on a 100-point scale, with 100 being the highest possible mark. Likewise, Amazon bested Apple and QVC in overall satisfaction on mobile devices, logging a customer relationship rating of 87.
At physical stores, Publix Super Markets took the top with a score of 86. Amazon, which has no physical outlets, was not assessed by this metric. But, while Amazon was a non-factor in this channel, the overall implications of its strong performance for the retail industry were clear to ForeSee’s researchers.
“The data shows that customer loyalty for retailers is on the decline, yet consumers are satisfied with the top retail brands and had the best experience with retailers who mastered the multichannel experience,” Larry Freed, ForeSee’s president and CEO, said in a Jan. 7 statement.
For more on the report, the growth of omnichannel and its implications for the retail and payments industries, we break down the report in full in this PYMNTS.com Data Point.
Mobile Sees Biggest Year-Over-Year Satisfaction Boost
ForeSee found that consumer satisfaction with in-store shopping experience was on the rise, if only slightly, at a time when many shoppers are migrating to other channels. Overall satisfaction across all retailers rose to 79 in 2013, up from 78 in 2012. However, the report noted this was not enough to erase the four-point loss it registered from 2011 to 2012.
Mobile satisfaction increased the most in 2013, jumping to 79 from 76 one year earlier, a sign that the increased emphasis retailers are putting on mobile is paying off. Overall online satisfaction remained relatively unchanged year-over-year.
Further, no mobile sites registered a decline in satisfaction of more than three points, though Apple, JCPenney and Staples saw dips in their ratings. The researchers stated that this finding was proof more retailers are investing in mobile to keep pace with their peers.
Dissecting Amazon’s Success
After a record-setting holiday season for Amazon Prime and new indications it’s winning over the coveted affluent demographic, Amazon’s first-place finish in this poll was just another in a streak of recent wins.
“Since day one, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has focused on the customer experience. It obviously has paid off,” the report concluded. “And the simple truth of the matter is: Amazon is good at everything they do from the customer experience standpoint.”
More than 87 percent of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the price, content and functionality of Amazon’s website, while 90 percent said they would recommend Amazon to another shopper for a future purchase.
Merchandising Is Top Priority, Retailers Say
ForeSee found that 53 percent of retailers believe merchandising is the biggest factor affecting consumer experience in store, while 57 percent say it is the most important driver of online sales.
Foresee further indicated that this perception may be accurate, illustrating why flash sales giant and relative eCommerce newcomer Zulily scored an overall satisfaction rate of 73, 15 points lower than Amazon’s leading 88. ForeSee posted real comments from Zulily customers who complained that desired items were sold out and that available sizes were limited.
The report suggested that Zulily may want to address this concern before its upcoming IPO. With 37 percent of its customers arriving to the site without a preexisting knowledge of the company, having the merchandise to satisfy these shoppers may be crucial in future holiday seasons to come. However, it remains a lesson many other retailers could benefit from as well.
For another take on who won the holiday retail battle in 2013, read our report “The Top 5 Holiday Retailers Revealed.”