E-tailers Give Sites Poor Marks

Aug 03, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Consumers give online shopping sites better marks than those who run them.

According to a survey of 400 executives by ForeSee Results, e-tailers gave themselves a grade of 65 out of 100. Consumers were more generous giving e-tail sites an 84.

ForeSee’s chief executive Larry Freed told the Dow Jones news service, “It’s a good sign that they don’t give themselves great scores. If they did, they’d be feeling complacent with the service they were providing.”

Improving online navigation and search function performance top the lists of things that need fixing, according to the executives who participated in the survey.

Online retailers are also not pleased with their own ability to measure their customers’ satisfaction. “Only 23% of e-tailers surveyed by ForeSee were highly satisfied with how well their research tools measure satisfaction.”

Tower Records used surveys on its site to get a better handle on what consumers thought about it. Approximately eight percent of those surveyed responded and told the online music seller it took too long for pages to load and to check out.

As a result, Tower redesigned its site and in the process “improved its sales conversion rate by 50% and saw its abandonment rate drop by 10%.”

Kevin Ertell, senior vice president of online operations at Tower Records said, “It’s a real obvious correlation. When we increase our satisfaction scores, our sales increase.”

Moderator’s Comment: How would you grade the performance of e-tailers as a whole? Where do you see the greatest opportunities for improvement? Are there
examples you can cite to illustrate the right way to achieve customer satisfaction online?

About one percent of visitors to the Tower Records Web site are now asked to fill out a survey to give the retailer an ongoing handle on how consumers perceive
it and the performance of its online store.

George Anderson – Moderator

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