E-Commerce Stands Strong

E-commerce is stronger in terms of customer satisfaction, loyalty, and future economic growth than virtually any other sector of the economy, a new report issued by ForeSee Results claims. The report is part of the University of Michigan's American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which periodically rates customer satisfaction from zero to 100 in key market areas. The ACSI report includes scores for four categories of e-commerce: online retail, travel, online brokerage, and auction/reverse auction. Among them the e-retail category, with a score of 83, was up significantly over last year's score of 77, and is one of the two highest-scoring industries measured by the ACSI. These marks are significant when compared to offline retail, which was also measured for this quarter's ACSI report and scored a 74.6. Individual e-commerce sites were also ranked, and with a score of 88 Amazon.com is up four points over its score of a year ago, making it one of the highest-scoring companies ever. Barnes&Noble.com is virtually neck-and-neck with a score of 87, making both companies standard-setters for both their industry and the economy in general. This also suggests strong future earnings potential, says ForeSee CEO Larry Freed. "Clearly, consumers have gotten very comfortable transacting business online," Freed says. "The cost of doing business online is advantageous (to both buyers and sellers), the convenience of shopping online is there, and customers get [consistent]...product information, more so than they do in brick-and-mortar retailers." "E-commerce will definitely continue to be a major part--and a growing part--of our economy," Freed says. All in all the report says that e-commerce scored higher than the economy in general in terms of customer satisfaction. E-commerce overall registered a 77.6, ahead of the economy's aggregate score of 72.9. Freed says customer satisfaction ranking is one of the most important business metrics available today. "Customer satisfaction determines what will bring customers back tomorrow; consumers reward satisfaction by being loyal," Freed says. Companies that neglect e-commerce as a major revenue channel could be in for a rude awakening, Freed says, noting that nearly every type of business has an audience on the Web, and that business must take advantage of opportunities at hand.
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