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UK's Best and Worst Online Retailers Named in ForeSee Christmas 2012 Customer Satisfaction Index

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:01 PM


- Index Dominated by Amazon; John Lewis Leads U.K.-based e-retailers

- Debenhams, DIY.com, and ASDA Direct See Largest Gains; ryanair Registers Biggest Drop and Lowest Score

LONDON, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ForeSee, the global leader in customer experience analytics, have announced today the findings of its annual Christmas customer satisfaction Index across the UK's top 40 online retail websites.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121219/DE32376-INFO )

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110819/DE54780LOGO )

The findings in the ForeSee Online Retail Satisfaction Index: UK Christmas Edition indicate a slight increase in aggregate satisfaction from Christmas 2011 to Christmas 2012: from 73 to 74 on the study's 100-point scale. This is the fourth year running that the Index has unveiled an increase of just one point per year on aggregate. However, a one-point change still means a great deal in terms of revenue when it represents a change for a large group of retailers.

This is the sixth year that ForeSee has conducted an analysis of the Christmas shopping experience that customers are having with the UK's top 40 online retailers. This revealing data, the result of almost 10,000 customer surveys collected during the prime Christmas shopping time (in November and December), affords year-on-year comparisons of not only aggregate e-retail satisfaction, but also of satisfaction with individual retailers. The Index measures four high-level factors that affect overall customer satisfaction: site functionality, price, merchandise, and content.

Key findings:

  • The Leaders: Not much has changed at the top of the leader board. Keeping in mind that scores at or above 80 are generally considered the threshold of excellence, Amazon.co.uk recorded an 86 this year, a one point increase from 2011, to stay ahead of U.S. counterpart, Amazon.com (up two points to 84)—a feat that helps to validate the strategy of having country-specific sites (at least for Amazon). John Lewis (80) holds steady in third this year, rounding out the list of three companies that surpass the excellence threshold of 80. Play.com (79), Apple (77), and ASDA Direct (77) also appear at the top of the Index.
  • The Fallers: Perennial low-scorer ryanair registers the only decline of three points or more (down three points to 61), making it the lowest-scoring company in the Index by a wide margin, it rests a full seven points behind Netflix (68) in the second-to-last spot.
  • The Most Improved: This year's largest increases went to Debenhams (up four points to 76) and B&Q's website DIY.com (up four points to 71), followed by ASDA Direct (up three points to 77). Given that, on average, a one-point satisfaction increase predicts a 14% increase in the log of revenues generated on the web, these increases could translate to significant business value for these companies.
  • Mind the 'Satisfaction' Gap: Currently, there is a notable 25-point gap between the highest-scoring e-retailer (Amazon.co.uk, 86) and the lowest (ryanair.com, 61), a broad range for a sophisticated industry. Moreover, average satisfaction for the top 40 e-retailers is 74, but just 11 of the measured companies surpass that average. It's going to be much easier for companies that provide a superior customer experience to capitalize on UK customers' increasing preference for online retail.
  • Customer satisfaction matters. A highly satisfied online shopper in the UK reports being 62% more likely than a dissatisfied shopper to buy from that retailer online in the future, 58% more likely to buy from the retailer the next time they need similar merchandise (a proxy for customer loyalty), as well as being far more likely to return to the site, recommend it, and show commitment to the brand. 
  • Comparison to Direct Competitors: All retailers in the Index are classified according to product category, which allows individual companies to check their own performance against those of companies selling the same products or services.
    • Mass Merchants – For the 14 online retailers in this classification, the aggregate score was 77 this year—the same as it was in 2010 and 2011. In general, any mass merchant scoring under 77 is in danger of losing business to competitors scoring 77 or higher, though those with average scores should also be concerned. Top-scoring mass merchants include Amazon.co.uk (86), Amazon.com (84), JohnLewis.com (80), and Play.com (79) lead this group as they do the entire index. Very.co.uk and Riverisland.com bottom out this group with scores of 72 apiece.
    • Travel and Tourism – The nine websites included in this category recorded an average score of 71, up two points from 2011. Thetrainline.com (74) and Travel Republic (74) topped the list whilst perennial low scorer ryanair (with 61) came in last.. Even the top scorers in this category underperform the average for mass merchants, which shows how much satisfaction can vary from category to category.
    • Apparel and Accessories – With just four online retailers in this category, no category score was calculated(a minimum of five sites is required). However, three of the four sites scored comparably, with only Topshop.com slightly behind the pack.
  • Satisfaction Across Channels:
    • Both "pure play" and multichannel retailers have experienced growth in customer satisfaction, but only marginally. For "pure play" web retailers who by definition only sell online, customer satisfaction has risen slightly from 73 on a 100-point scale in 2011 to 74 this year. Retailers whose main sales channel is brick and mortar stores have also increased satisfaction by one point—from 72 in 2011 to 73 this year.

Larry Freed, CEO at ForeSee, commented: "Christmas has always been a critical time of the year for retailers, but the growth in online shopping this year now means that retail websites are more essential than ever. For these sites to be effective and competitive, a laser-like focus on the customer experience is paramount. UK retailers are clearly providing customers with positive online experiences in general, or customers would not be moving so decisively to online shopping. However, our findings suggest that efforts to improve the customer experience are sluggish and could be significantly improved.

"Overall customer satisfaction has increased every year we've reported on the top 40 UK retailers at Christmas time, but the last four years have seen increases of just one point per year on aggregate. It's just not good enough. Any retailer registering an average or lower score is risking loyalty, recommendations, sales, and market share. By this measure, 29 of these leading UK retailers are underperforming. Whilst falling below average is definitely dangerous, it is hard to imagine that a consistently average performance is safe either, especially in an extremely competitive economy.

"There is a powerful and quantifiable relationship between a positive customer experience online and increased loyalty, sales, and recommendations—online retailers would do well to sit up and pay attention to this research methodology. By understanding customers' needs and expectations, they will be able to survive and thrive in 2013 and beyond."

Christmas 2012 Customer Satisfaction for the Top 40 UK Online Retailers – full list of year on year scores (in descending order)

Figure 1: 2012 Customer Satisfaction Scores for the Top 40 E-Retail Websites in the UK



IMRG Rank

Website

Satisfaction
2007

Satisfaction
2008

Satisfaction
2009

Satisfaction
2010

Satisfaction
2011

Satisfaction
2012

Point
change
'11-'12

Point
change
'07-'12

1

amazon.co.uk

75

78

83

83

85

86

1

11

5

amazon.com

NA

NA

NA

84

82

84

2

0

9

johnlewis.com

69

68

77

78

80

80

0

11

8

play.com

76

78

79

81

80

79

-1

3

3

apple.com

NA

71

76

75

78

77

-1

6

26

direct.ASDA.com

NA

NA

NA

72

74

77

3

5

4

tesco.com

NA

NA

NA

73

75

76

1

3

11

debenhams.com

63

61

71

73

72

76

4

13

20

ASDA.co.uk

64

69

73

76

74

76

2

12

2

argos.co.uk

67

70

73

77

77

75

-2

8

7

marksandspencer.com

70

68

73

78

77

75

-2

5

12

newlook.com

NA

NA

73

72

72

74

2

1

25

sainsbury.co.uk

NA

NA

73

72

73

74

1

1

21

thetrainline.com

NA

NA

NA

69

74

74

0

5

30

sportsdirect.com

NA

NA

NA

72

72

74

2

2

33

cineworld.co.uk

NA

NA

NA

75

72

74

2

-1

37

boots.com

NA

NA

70

69

73

74

1

4

39

TravelRepublic.com

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

74

NA

NA

15

direct.tesco.com

69

65

72

72

73

74

1

5

17

lovefilm.com

NA

NA

NA

76

72

74

2

-2

6

next.co.uk

NA

NA

70

69

72

73

1

4

14

thomson.uk

NA

NA

NA

71

72

73

1

2

10

ASOS.com

67

70

74

73

73

73

0

6

19

easyjet.com

NA

NA

NA

72

71

73

2

1

31

ikea.com

NA

NA

73

72

71

73

2

0

36

houseoffraser.co.uk

NA

NA

NA

NA

72

73

1

1

40

Odeon Cinemas

NA

NA

NA

72

NA

72

NA

0

16

expedia.co.uk

NA

NA

NA

72

70

72

2

0

23

riverisland.com

61

63

69

72

71

72

1

11

24

currys.co.uk

60

60

66

69

73

72

-1

12

29

very.co.uk

NA

NA

NA

67

NA

72

NA

5

35

britishairways.com

NA

NA

NA

70

70

72

2

2

18

topshop.com

NA

NA

70

69

70

71

1

1

13

diy.com

53

60

65

65

67

71

4

18

27

homebase.co.uk

NA

NA

67

67

69

71

2

4

28

thomascook.com

NA

NA

NA

70

69

71

2

NA

32

lastminute.com

NA

NA

NA

68

69

70

1

2

38

Ticketmaster UK

NA

NA

65

64

NA

69

NA

4

34

Netflix.com

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

68

NA

NA

22

ryanair.com

NA

NA

NA

61

64

61

-3

0




* The composition of companies included in the Index has changed considerably over the years. In 2007 and 2008, ForeSee measured only the top 30 retailers; in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, we measured the top 40. The list of top retailers has also changed over time as companies have slipped into and out of the top 40, and in 2010, ForeSee synchronised the list selection with the IMRG Experian Hitwise Hot 100 Retailer list, which is a ranking of UK e-retailers based on site traffic.

About the Research

The ForeSee E-Retail Satisfaction Index (UK Christmas Edition) is based upon a customer satisfaction methodology developed at the University of Michigan. It is the only cross-industry methodology able to consistently demonstrate that organisations who more effectively satisfy customers do achieve higher financial returns. With origins in Sweden, where it was originally developed as the Swedish Barometer, this methodology has been adopted as a national measure of customer satisfaction by the United States (American Customer Satisfaction Index), the United Kingdom (National Customer Satisfaction Index UK), as well as by governments in Colombia, Dominican Republic, Korea, Mexico, Sweden, South Africa, Turkey, and elsewhere. For the past 10 years, ForeSee has been measuring online customer satisfaction for leading retail sites including Best Buy, Sears, and Target using this scientific approach. Additionally, the firm produces the annual US-based Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index which provides an interesting point of comparison to customer satisfaction with UK online retail.

The list of retailers was selected based on the IMRG Experian Hitwise Hot 100 Retailer list, and the survey represents nearly 10,000 customer surveys. Responses were collected via an online panel with more than 700,000 online consumers provided by Research Now from the 16th of November through the 11th of December from shoppers who had visited the top 40 retail websites this Christmas season.

The respondent group is defined as "browsers", meaning that some respondents completed an online purchase during their site visits, whilst others did not. Browsers include existing customers, first-time visitors, infrequent visitors, competitors' customers who may be cross-shopping, and others spending time researching purchases on a retail website, perhaps with the intent to purchase through offline channels.

About ForeSee

As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee continuously measures satisfaction and delivers powerful insights on where to prioritise improvements for maximum impact. ForeSee applies its trusted technology across channels and customer touch points, including websites, call centres, brick-and-mortar locations, mobile experiences, and social media interactions. Because ForeSee's proven methodology measures satisfaction in a manner that is predictive of customer loyalty, purchase behaviour, future financial success, and even stock prices, executives and managers are able to drive future success by confidently prioritising the efforts that they know will achieve business goals.

Working across the public and private sectors, with deep expertise in a range of business and consumer industries, ForeSee combines the best in customer satisfaction measurement, proven predictive analytics, actionable usability analysis, and rich observational data to work with large and small organisations around the world. The results of measuring success through the customers' eyes are better outcomes for businesses and a better experience for consumers. Visit: http://www.foresee.com/ for customer experience solutions and original research.

Press Contact

Nikki Alvey, The PR Network
Tel: +44(0)7973-354-706
Nikki.alvey@theprnetwork.co.uk

(Source: PR Newswire )
(Source: Quotemedia)

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