When it came to the holiday shopping season this year, for a lot of users, that meant one thing: Amazon's greatest deals on all the greatest items, and in many cases, right from the comfort of home and hearth. Whether it was desktop, laptop or mobile that got said users to Amazon's massive halls to shop, there were no small number of users heading out that way. But in the midst of this, there's some darker news afoot for Amazon; its high status for customer satisfaction has taken a hit recently, so according to a recent study from Answers Corporation.
Answers Corporation runs not only Answers.com (News - Alert), but also The Answers Experience Index (AXI): 2014 U.S. Retail Edition. The AXI report combines 40,000 customer surveys targeting the top 100 retail websites, as well as the top 30 retail chain stores and the top 30 mobile sites over the course of the 2014 holiday shopping season, and has been doing so for, at last report, the last decade. Satisfaction is measured on a 100-point scale, with a score of 80 considered an excellent result. But it was what the AXI had to say that was particularly noteworthy.
Retail websites in general took something of a hit this year, with the average score falling from 79 last year to 77 this year. That's still approaching excellence, but it's moving in the wrong direction for most any vendor's satisfaction. But Amazon still managed to score in the excellent category, suffering a fairly major drop of its own. Amazon's score last year, reportedly, was 88, a score it held from 2011 to 2013; this year, its score is 83. That's still excellence, but now, Amazon is merely tied for the top slot with its closest competitor, QVC. The biggest hit Amazon took was, at last report, in terms of price competitiveness on its product line. Following Amazon and QVC, meanwhile, were some familiar names, including Avon and L.L. Bean, as well as Netflix. Apple (News - Alert), meanwhile, dropped to a score of 80, still sufficient for excellence.
Amazon also suffered in mobile, where there's an increasingly large amount of traffic. Amazon hit 83, just one point above many of its competitors, where last year it was fully five points ahead of its competitors. Mobile satisfaction in general held steady year over year, and that should be considered a cause for concern, particularly as more shoppers enter the fray and get more comfortable with the idea. It will not be enough, long-term, to merely preserve current levels of effectiveness, but rather explore ways to augment scores. One big lesson, however, is that brick and mortar is not dead yet, and those stores that combine the experience of mobile with a “ship to store” option can see some substantial gains. We have video on this and a variety of other subjects available at this link.
So what's the key takeaway in all this? It's a familiar one; augment the mobile experience, and be sure to keep the other experiences in tact as well. More shoppers are going online than ever before, but having the option to pick up an item instead of shipping it can be valuable if there's a local retail presence. Above all, there's never been quite so much room for growth in the market, so take advantage of the opportunity. Astute businesses have clear room for gain, and those who learn the lessons well will likely come out ahead.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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