Customer Satisfaction in E-Commerce Strongly Effects Future Loyalty

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ForeSee Results has just released a research study on customer satisfaction with the top 40 Internet e-commerce Website and for mainstream retailers like Target and Best Buy it’s not great news.

The two retailing giants scored just below the average for the 40 sites, and showed little improvement in their customer satisfaction scores for the last four years.

Amazon continues to set the gold standard, achieving a score of 87 on a scale of 100 this year, the highest score ever achieved in the four years of the study.

So what? How does this matter if e-commerce is just a small fraction of total revenue for a mainstream retailer like Target? The study provides startling connections between customer satisfaction on the e-commerce channel and consumer likelihood to shop at stores, stay loyal to in future purchases, or recommend a retailer to others:

from: “Online Retailers Find a Reason to Celebrate in Dismal Economy,” 12/30/2009 ForeSee Results

Studies like this one point out successful strategies for understanding the inter-play between channels for the multi-channel retailer. As mobile and search play an even more important role in our consideration and buying processes, how can retailers build strong relationships and real loyalty?

“Customer satisfaction” is the answer, but what does that mean, other than the best value combined with best service? And if that’s all that means, how does a retailer get out of an “arms race” of features, price cuts, and whiz-bang promotions?

The answer may lie in a long-term strategy of what some call “delight.” Delight comes from being significantly and plesantly surprised–something that Amazon has been able to do by pioneering e-commerce experience and infrastructure on a massive scale. The key is the long-term committment to integrating bricks and clicks and mobile. This isn’t something that can be done by a cross-functional special committee. This has to be led from the top of the organization and made the central priority of a retailer.

That’s what Amazon does, doesn’t it?

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About Rohn Jay Miller

I'm a strategic designer who works with clients who are transforming their business models because of change brought on by the Internet. Solving disruption is often a problem and an opportunity at the same time. Previously I was a founding partner of Ikonic/USWeb in San Francisco, and Senior Vice President--Product & Technology for Knight Ridder in San Jose.

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