Customer Satisfaction Drives Future Online Purchase Intent

ForeSee Results recently released its annual assessment of the top 100 online retailers, showing that customer satisfaction with e‑retail remains at an all-​time high score of 78 on the study's 100-​point scale. In addition to providing satisfaction scores, the study quantifies purchase intent, or a consumer's likelihood to purchase from a retailer through any channel, online or offline. Satisfaction predicts purchase intent when it is measured using ForeSee's methodology. 

Nearly one-​third of the rated e‑retailers score 80 or higher (which is the threshold to be considered a top performer in the Index) up significantly from 2007 when only four websites were considered top performers. Moreover, not a single e‑retailer scores below 70. Just two years ago, 15% of the top 100 retailers scored 69 or lower.

"Over the last seven years, we've really seen an industry mature from a huge range of satisfaction scores to a relatively narrow range," said Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee Results. "However, it's important to remember that these scores are for only the Top 100 e‑retailers, and a lot of smaller retailers still struggle with prioritizing the online customer experience. Understanding the relationship between customer satisfaction and purchase behavior should be a powerful motivator to measure and improve online customer satisfaction."

The report includes individual satisfaction scores with the 100 top e‑retailers for the past seven years, allowing for comparisons over time and between companies. After six years of leading the Index, Netflix drops two points to 85 and Amazon narrowly takes the lead, remaining unchanged at 86. The biggest gainers between 2010 and 2011 are Newegg, Shutterfly, Staples, Peapod, Lowes, Macys​.com, and Hayneedle, up three points each.

The report quantifies the cause-​and-​effect relationship between customer satisfaction and the future success of a retailer. When compared to dissatisfied visitors, highly-​satisfied visitors to retail websites say they are 68% more likely to purchase online, 46% more likely to purchase offline, and 61% more likely to purchase from that retailer next time they're in the market for a similar product (based on likelihood scores). Highly satisfied customers are also more likely to recommend the retailer.

"Time and again our research shows that customer satisfaction drives loyalty, positive word of mouth, and future purchase intent," added Freed. "Even as this economy slowly recovers, competition for the consumer dollar has never been tighter, so companies cannot afford to be complacent with their single most important consumer interface: the website."

[Source:  "Top 100 E‑Retail Satisfaction Index."  ForeSee Results.  10 May 2011.  Web.  12 May 2011.]