While Amazon (AMZN) continues to wage war on brick-and-mortar businesses, the online retail giant seems also to have won the battle for the hearts and minds of Web shoppers. For the eighth consecutive year, the website took the top spot in analytics firm ForeSee’s annual ranking of customer satisfaction during the holiday shopping season.
Among the 100 largest online retailers, Amazon was followed by outdoor clothing manufacturer LLBean, shopping community QVC (LINTA), and vitamin retailer Vitacost (VITC). The results are based on ForeSee’s survey of 24,000 consumers, from Nov. 22 to Dec. 13, which asked shoppers for their opinions on price, merchandise, site functionality, and content, as well as how likely they are to return to conduct further business.
We were curious to see which companies ranked worst in the aforementioned criteria. Herewith, a sampling of the results:
Eight Worst Holiday E-tailers (ForeSee’s Score)
• Gilt.com (72), designer-fashion e-tailer
• Fingerhut.com (72), all-purpose e-tailer
• RueLaLa.com (73), designer-fashion e-tailer
• Nutrisystem.com (NTRI) (73), diet-food outlet
• Crateandbarrel.com (73), housewares e-tailer
• Shop.com (74), all-purpose e-tailer
• PCConnection.com (PCCC) (74), consumer and commercial tech-product outlet
• FTD.com (UNTD) (74), flowers, plants, jewelry, and gift-baskets delivery e-tailer
Of the two companies with the weakest customer reviews, Gilt.com scored poorly because of sub-par website “functionality.” As ForeSee spokesperson Sarah Allen-Short explains, part of the site’s low grade can be attributed to the fact that Gilt is a luxury outlet, so consumer expectations are higher. (She notes that Saksfifthavenue.com (SKS) and Nordstrom.com (JWN) both earned higher scores, at 79 each). Fingerhut, meanwhile, received low marks across the board, underwhelming shoppers in the areas of price, content, functionality, and choice of merchandise. Neither Gilt nor Fingerhut responded to requests for comment.
“It’s hard to imagine a retailer with a score of 72 competing well in a marketplace where the average is 79,” says Allen-Short, “And there are many retailers above 80.” Amazon, for instance, scored 88. “You can buy almost anything at Amazon,” she says, “so why would a customer choose to shop at a retailer that provides a sub-par experience?”