Satisfaction with E-Commerce is Waning, According to American Customer Satisfaction Index

Wednesday 16 February 2005 02:25 CET | News

Stratospheric customer satisfaction with e-commerce stars like Amazon and eBay are beginning to fall back down to earth, according to new findings released by the University of Michigans American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) in partnership with ForeSee Results.

While Amazon and eBay have been evolving their business models, and losing some goodwill in the process, has maintained a purer approach and pushed ahead of them to lead the pack of online sellers of goods and services. The new ACSI results show that satisfaction with e-retail (one of four measured e-commerce sub-sets) fell 4.8% this year, dropping for the first time since the category was included in the Index in 2000. With an aggregate score of 80 on the ACSIs 100-point scale, e-retail still performed substantially better than offline retail, which was down 3.2% from last year with a score of 72.6. Meanwhile, the online brokerage and travel industries, which had never delivered an online experience that delighted customers like e-retail, experienced further declines in satisfaction. The Index measures select top companies by name, and also collects broader samples that provide hard data on the state of e-commerce in general and the e-retail, online auctions, online brokerage, and e-travel categories in particular. Overall, the e-commerce category was down 2.7% from 2003, with a score of 78.6. Stars Amazon and eBay both fell a significant four points this year over last. Amazon dropped 4.5% from 88, one of the highest scores ever in the ACSIs ten-year history, to 84. eBay fell 4.7% from 84 to 80. Freed said eBays decline is also driven by changes in its business model. eBay, which is measured in the auctions category, still has a considerable lead over its nearest rival, Priceline. Priceline gained two points from last year, moving up nearly 3% from 71 to 73--still well behind eBay despite eBays four-point drop to 80. The diversification of sites like Amazon also puts them into increasing competition with traditional retailers, who operate both online and offline. A recent ForeSee Results/FGI Research survey of more than 4,000 multi-channel shoppers showed a distinct preference for being able to research online but then purchase offline for products such as apparel and electronics. Travel sites do moderately well, but have never achieved the customer satisfaction heights of e-retailers, and none of the sites has distinguished itself in the eyes of customers. The brokerage field has always been the e-commerce laggard, and this quarters score of 75 again puts it at the bottom of the e-commerce grouping. The giant of the field, Charles Schwab, earns the lowest customer satisfaction score of any company or group measured in the field. Charles Schwabs score fell 5.3% from a low-pass of 75 last year to a weak 71. E-Trade trails the category at 70. Customers who deal with other online brokerages tend to be relatively satisfied. The all others group, composed primarily of full service brokerages, mutual fund companies, registers a 78, up a point from last year. The ACSI is produced by the University of Michigans Ross School of Business. The e-commerce portion is done in partnership with ForeSee Results. The ACSI surveys users of measured websites and uses a formula that weights various aspects of the online experience according to what most influences customer satisfaction and behavior. That formula produces the ACSI score, which can then be compared directly to any industry, service, or company measured by the Index.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
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