) and Amazon
) did the best job of pleasing their Web shoppers during the holiday season, according to the "Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index", compiled by ForeSee Results
of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Both were top-ranked last year, too.
A half-dozen traditional brick-and-mortar sellers showed "impressive" gains in pleasing visitors on their online sales sites. Overall, shoppers at the 40 largest online sellers’ sites, as measured by sales volume, were slightly more satisfied this holiday season than last, he added.
"The key is understanding the customer audience," said Larry Freed, president/CEO of ForeSee. "Making the Web site's features and benefits match those of the in-store experience is critical.”
He said major retailers like Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), JC Penney (NYSE:JCP), and Target (NYSE:TGT) showed improvement because they learned the Web is a resource for both purchasing and researching items. Consumers are pleased, for instance, by other customers' comments. "In a store, you can ask a salesperson if a particular product has performed well or been troublesome," Freed said. "Online, customer reviews perform the same function," and might even be more reliable. He also cited features such as the availability of detailed product specifications, large photos, and online product comparisons which were offered by some of the most successful sites.
Listen to Larry Freed talk about ForeSee Results' Top 40 Online Retail Satisfaction Index results.