Report: leads, Apple slides, in holiday e-shopping experience


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ForeSee just released its 8th annual study of shopper satisfaction with the top 100 e-retailers. came out on top again with an overall score of 88. Rounding out the top 4 were (85), (84), (84). and tied for No. 5 with a score of 83.

Luxury retailer surprised me by tying for last place (with with a score of 72. That’s quite a bit below the industry average of 79, which was unchanged from 2011. Another shock: Apple’s score dropped 4 points to 80, after reaching the top 5 in 2011. (81) and Sony (79) led the most improved category, with 5 point increases in the past year. Sony has improved 10 points since 2005, the biggest gain of any e-retailer.

Perhaps not so surprising is’s 6 point decline to 78. The report observes: “JCPenney is a great example of why a company needs to listen to THEIR OWN customers before overhauling their business model. Many of the company’s woes are a result of not understanding what their customers’ wants, needs and expectations were.”

Maybe so, but changing business models means JCP must attract new customers. A (hopefully) short-term decline in customer satisfaction scores is the price that CEO Rod Johnson is willing to pay as he makes a painful strategic shift. We’ll see if it pans out in the next year or more.

These scores were based on 24,000+ surveys collected during the holiday shopping season from shoppers who had visited the top 100 retail websites within the previous two weeks.

Why Shopper Satisfaction Matters

According to ForeSee, an analysis of top U.S. e-retailers found that a measly one-point improvement in website satisfaction predicted a 14% increase in web-generated revenue.

And that’s not all. Compared to dissatisfied (scores of 69 or lower) site visitors, satisfied (80+) visitors were found to be:

  • 65% more committed to the brand overall
  • 71% more likely to purchase from the retailer online
  • 58% more likely to purchase offline
  • 69% more likely to recommend the retailer
  • 67% more likely to purchase from the retailer next time

Gimme the Right Stuff

ForeSee’s model considers four big factors or “elements” in its customer satisfaction score: Merchandise, Functionality, Content and Price.

Source: ForeSee

The report says that improving merchandise (the appeal, variety, and availability of products) is a high-priority for improvement in nearly two-thirds of the sites. Doing so would improve overall satisfaction and lead to increase sales, loyalty and customer recommendation. Improving price, on the other hand, would matter to shopper satisfaction for only 7 e-retailers.

I found this conclusion interesting and, dare I say, a reality check for CX enthusiasts. Having the “right stuff” still matters in retail!

You can download an excellent white paper with the full results and analysis. Registration required.


  1. Source: Experian Marketing Services

    1. (1)
    2. Walmart (2)
    3. Target (3)
    4. Best Buy (4)
    5. JC Penney (6)
    6 Sears (5)
    7. Macy’s (7)
    8. Kohl’s (9)
    9. Toys R Us (10)
    10. (8)

    (Last year's ranking)

    Analysis from Bill Tancer, Managing Director of Global Research, Experian Marketing Services:

    + The most impressive point is the increase in visits to retailers in the top ten this year versus 2011 (8 of the top 10 had increases in visits versus last year
    + While the top five top retailers have held stable throughout the holiday season we have had some movement in positions 5-10 with Home Depot and Lowes taking top 10 slots earlier in the holiday season
    + The appearance of QVC in the top 10 both this year and last is proof that cross channel buying behavior is alive and well (consumers are watching QVC channel on television and making purchases online.)
    + As far as growth in Gift Card Searches y-o-y, total search volume for “gift card” variations increased 6.1% this year compared to last year, with the big spike in searches happening last week (as online shoppers passed shipping deadlines)
    + 2012 is the year of the tablet, with tablets and e-readers taking 5 of the top 10 spots
    + Despite news of Ugg sales declines this year, they remain the most searched on item this holiday season, and search terms indicate that Uggs are a Q4 product and
    + iPad trumps newer iPad Mini as most popular Apple product.


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