A Christmas Customer Satisfaction Index survey showed Amazon as the top online retailer to best satisfy consumers during the busy holiday shopping season. The study, done by Fore See Results stated that Amazon offered the safest and best online opportunities, but also showed the lesser e-commerce sites slipping and failing to meet the improving standards of the larger companies.
The survey was based on five main categories:
- Quality of service
- Quality of content
What is of real significance is the more satisfied a customer was with their online retail experience, the more likely they were to purchase online and recommend the site to friends and relatives. When customers have a good experience, they return and stay loyal.
Smaller online companies are going to be eaten like the small fish in the big bowl if they don't use additional resources to continue to improve their services. They need to rethink what the larger companies are doing to compete in the ever improving market. So what are customers getting from Amazon that they find they are not getting from smaller online retailers?
Besides the most obvious, consumers want to be sure their purchasers are secure and are looking for an engaging and satisfying experience. What that means is that customers are actively comparing prices between different websites and looking for the best deals. With that comes the search for discounts and vouchers prior to their purchases. Customers are looking for a complete experience which shows them the product description, customer reviews, manufacturer specifications, guarantees, and of course, the best prices of all the online competition. Then the customer moves on to the quality of the customer service experience, ease of checkout, security measures, and the significance of the entire online experience becomes the buyer's reality.
Interestingly enough, the survey also asked how shoppers ended up at specific websites. Primarily 46% were influenced by the familiarity of the brand, 13% used search engine trawls, 10% went to a site because of a promotional email, and oddly only 4% were influenced by social media. People using mobile and smart phones rarely made purchases that way, and mainly used the devices to research prices, compare product specifications, or do product research. Companies might be reconsidering the heavy financial investments they have been making in promoting the mobile advantages.
So the questions and answers remain - half of the visitors who come to websites come to research and not to buy. Only one-fifth of those shoppers purchase online, so online retailers need to figure out exactly what customers want, and convert all of these browsers to buyers by offering best product selections, best prices, and the best service.