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Survey: Netflix, Amazon Tops in Customer Satisfaction

BY CSA STAFF

Ann Arbor, Mich. Netflix and Amazon delighted holiday shoppers online while Web sites for Circuit City, Gap, Home Depot, HSN, Neiman Marcus fell below industry standards in terms of customer satisfaction, according to the annual Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index from ForeSee Results and FGI Research.

The survey uses the patented methodology of the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to examine how successful the top 40 retail websites are at encouraging loyalty and purchase intent. All 40 Web sites are rated on a 100-point scale. It found that a highly satisfied online shopper is 73% more likely to purchase online, 38% more likely to purchase offline, and 75% more likely to recommend than a dissatisfied Web site shopper.

“In a recession, knowing that improving customer satisfaction with your Web site can engender that kind of loyalty, and purchase intent is like money in the bank,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO, ForeSee Results. “But too many e-retailers are ignoring this crucial metric, and it shows in the results of our study. Only two of the 40 measured e-tailers scored above 80, and more than a quarter scored 70 or below. Nearly 40% saw satisfaction drop year-over-year. That’s just not playing to win in this economy.”

The only two e-retailers scoring above 80 on the study’s 100–point scale (generally considered the threshold for excellence by the ACSI) are Amazon and Netflix, both at 84. QVC was a distant third at 79. Not surprisingly, Amazon just reported its best ever holiday season.

“Amazon is setting the bar for online-retail satisfaction and sales, and I expect they will have better financial results than the rest,” added Freed.

The survey found that while prices are a key element of satisfaction for many individual Web sites, overall, improvements to merchandise and functionality will have a greater return on investment.

“Consumers were expecting big discounts this season, and price was a pretty important factor, but it’s not the be-all, end-all for satisfaction, even in a recession” said Freed. “It’s much smarter for the long term to improve satisfaction through Web-experience improvements than erode brand equity through price cuts. The travails of Detroit’s Big Three automakers illustrate that point profoundly.”

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Herd to retire as Polk Audio president

BY CSA STAFF

BALTIMORE Polk Audio, announced that its president, Jim Herd, will retire at the end of the year, leading to a realignment of its senior management team.

“After a total of 30 years in the loudspeaker industry, including 16 years here at Polk Audio, I am fortunate enough to be able to retire and attend to more personal interests,” said Herd.

Polk Audio will be structured under the following three primary areas: marketing, sales, and product line management will report to Ben Newhall, vp of sales; engineering, project management, and purchasing will report to Jeff Nemec, vp of new product development; and operations and finance will report to Joe Tristani, COO.

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Amazon.com claims 2008 was best holiday ever

BY CSA STAFF

SEATTLE Amazon.com has managed to defy economic trends, by claiming that the 2008 holiday season was its best ever. According to the company, more than 6.3 million items ordered worldwide on the peak day, Dec. 15, which is a record-breaking 72.9 items per second.

Among Amazon.com’s top sellers this holiday season were the Eyeclops night vision stealth goggles, the Apple iPod touch 8 GB (2nd Generation) and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling.

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