E-Spending Up, Consumer Satisfaction Down in 2010


Despite spending in 2010 reaching its highest level since 2007, consumer satisfaction – an indicator of how pleased shoppers are with a company’s services – online, rather than in-store, is faltering. In an annual study by ForeSee Results, 10,000 shoppers ranked 40 of the highest-grossing e-commerce sites on four categories: merchandise, price, content and functionality – and the results were surprising.

Two retailers in particular, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret, saw overall ratings drop since 2009. Macy’s had a four-point decrease from 79 to 75 due to poor merchandise and functionality scores, according to Kevin Ertell, ForeSee’s VP of retail strategy. “Retailers put so much focus on price, yet we saw fairly consistently throughout the Top 40 that price in general was not the most important thing to people. Overall online site experience is incredibly important to not only satisfaction but in getting people to come back and buy, again and again,” said Ertell.

Zappos.com is retail proof that low prices do not necessarily equal a great shopping experience. The site has more customers raving about its stellar customer service than its products, which range from a $12 pair of socks to $1,000 boots. So, unsurprisingly, the ranking for L.L.Bean, another store known for being particularly helpful, increased from 80 [in 2009] to 83. Amazon.com, despite decreasing one point, was also noted for its long-standing positive performance.

Still, such dissatisfaction is strange considering this year’s high retail numbers. Many shoppers were more willing to splurge this year – perhaps they expected discounts similar to 2009 or even just a simple “Thank you for spending!”

Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee, explained: “In a recovering economy, a lot of us assume that declining satisfaction is a result of frustration with prices.” Regardless, many of the brands involved in this survey raked it in this holiday season, and we’ve already learned that being the nice guy doesn’t always pay.

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