Amazon sets standard in customer satisfaction survey
Ann Arbor, Mich. — Amazon remains at the head of the class in terms of customer service, according to the annual Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index released Thursday by customer experience analytics firm ForeSee.
The eighth annual report — based on more than 24,000 customer surveys collected between Thanksgiving and Christmas — expands from measuring satisfaction with 40 top retailers to 100 this year. Aggregate customer satisfaction stagnates, scoring 78 on a 100-point scale. Though satisfaction with top retailers remains the same, a few big-name retailers suffered declines.
Apple’s online retail store slid 4% to 80, slipping from a tie for second place and out of the top five entirely, registering its lowest score in four years. The biggest year-over-year decline was JCPenney.com, with a 6% decline to 78.
"This year, we’re seeing that even some of the largest companies in the country are at risk if they lose sight of customer satisfaction," said Larry Freed, ForeSee president and CEO. "Satisfaction with the customer experience, when measured correctly, is the most important predictor of future success, and while Amazon clearly gets it, Apple stumbles from their usual focus on the customer experience.”
Meanwhile, Amazon.com continues to set the standard for customer satisfaction, matching the record high of 88 it set last year in the holiday edition of the Index. Amazon has had the highest scores in the Index for eight years in a row, consistently setting a pace that other retailers don’t seem to be able to touch. Their high score is partially because of the appeal and variety of merchandise they offer, a priority area for some other retailers.
"At this point, Amazon has been dominant for so long and has such a history of focusing on the customer, its hard to imagine anyone else coming close," added Freed. "Companies should emulate Amazon’s focus on the customer, which is clearly linked to superior revenues over the years."
Report: Port strike would threaten spring retail sales
New York City — A Wednesday report by MarketWatch said that a potential strike by nearly 15,000 dock workers at 14 ports from Boston to Houston beginning on Sunday may derail retailers’ spring selling as well.
National Retail Federation supply chain and custom policy issues head Jonathan Gold told MarketWatch that, even though a federal mediator has called for a meeting of the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance ahead of the Dec. 29 contract expiration, it’s not clear when and where the two parties would do that in the next few days.
According to Gold, the two parties are in disagreement over container royalties, or the supplemental payments made to the workers based on the weight of containers that come through the ports.
The 14 ports along the East Coast and Gulf Coast handle about 6.5 million import containers annually, or 40% of imports to the U.S. The Port of New York and New Jersey is the largest port on the East Coast and the second largest in the country after the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach combined, where an eight-day strike ended earlier this month.
An East Coast strike “would have a significant impact on everybody through the supply chain,” Gold said.
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Online sales up 15.2% for the season
New York — Research results released Wednesday by Chase found that online holiday shopping sales for the season rose 15.2% year-over-year.
By event, the Chase Holiday Pulse reported that from Black Friday Nov. 23 through Friday, Nov. 30, year-over-year sales increased 22.5% and transactions increased 32.7%.
Green Monday kicked off the busiest week of the season: In terms of total transaction volume, Pulse showed that the period from Dec 10th (Green Monday) to Sunday, Dec 16th was the busiest seven-day period of the holiday shopping season, with year-over-year transaction up 16.6%.
In 2012, the ‘showrooming’ phenomenon went mainstream, as the survey showed that consumers used their mobile devices to research items they saw in-store, but then purchased online.
Heavy promotional activity from merchants during the holiday season was especially evident this year, with merchants attracting more online shoppers with email, online coupons, and discounts. To illustrate this, Pulse data for the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday reflected an average sales growth of 38.3% year-over-year.
Average Ticket Price continued to trend downward with year-to-date overall season results down 7.3% driven in part by additional free shipping offers from merchants and continued customer demand for low-ticket digital content.
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