Amazon Up But Satisfaction With E-Commerce Lowest In A Decade

ecommerce-online-sales-retailThis morning, the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) retail and e-commerce report came out. It covers retail, grocery stores, online brokerages and e-commerce. The results are mixed and largely negative for e-tailers.

According to the report, based on data compiled through “interviews with roughly 70,000 customers annually” by the University of Michigan and its research partners, customer satisfaction with online retail sunk to its lowest aggregate score in more than a decade. Some brick-and-mortar retailers fared better, although department store performance was lackluster, according to the report.

Amazon and Netflix (strangely categorized here as a “retailer”) gained ground in the survey, while almost all others helped drag the e-tail sector down. The 5 percentage point decline is the largest since 2001 according to the ACSI report.

ACSI retail

Source: ACSI Retail and E-Commerce Report 2013 

The report briefly speculates about holiday snafus online but has little more to say about the decline in customer satisfaction across web-based retailers. Somewhat paradoxically consumers expressed high levels of satisfaction with various aspects of the online retail experience, including checkout and payment, merchandise selection and overall website user experience elements.

ACSI retail

Source: ACSI Retail and E-Commerce Report 2013 

Strangely, mobile was totally omitted or neglected in the report.

In the “why should you care” (my phrase not theirs) discussion, the report argues that consumer satisfaction scores are predictive of future market performance and success:

ACSI data have proven to be strongly related to a number of essential indicators of micro and macroeconomic performance. For example, firms with higher levels of customer satisfaction tend to have higher earnings and stock returns relative to competitors. Stock portfolios based on companies that show strong performance in ACSI deliver excess returns in up markets as well as down markets. And, at the macro level, customer satisfaction has been shown to be predictive of both consumer spending and GDP growth.

That makes a lot of intuitive sense. However ACSI has a mixed-to-poor track record when it comes to predicting the future of online businesses. That’s been especially true in the search market, where Google has suffered ACSI ups and downs (and other search engines have outscored it periodically), without any corresponding impact on market share.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Statistics: Popularity & Usage | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • Retailigence

    Greg, excellent observation – why was mobile omitted in this report? Many retailers are suffering because they aren’t meeting the consumer’s needs throughout the customer journey. Retailers who grasp the opportunity presented by mobile, on the other hand, are able to connect the dots from online search to in-store purchase. These retailers leverage data about online consumer activity to present information on local availability of products that meet the consumer’s requirements. Real improvements in consumer satisfaction won’t be seen until retailers integrate the online to offline shopping experience. Mobile is the key.

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