E-Shopping Satisfaction is at its Lowest Point Since 2001. Why?

The Internet has promised many revolutionary innovations over the years, and for the most part, has delivered in a big way. People are now connected with one another on a global scale and can access more information, products and services than they ever could before the birth of the net.

However, the influence of ecommerce has raised the bar for merchants everywhere – consumers expect better service through online channels and this has been reflected in lowered customer satisfaction rates in a range of sectors, according to MarketingCharts. They pointed to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey that found consumers are overall less pleased with their online shopping experiences than with traditional storefronts.

Online shopping satisfaction falls behind

When shoppers were first exposed to the world of online retail, the possibility of ordering items to be delivered directly to their doors instantly drove customer satisfaction through the roof when stacked against conventional shopping experiences.

While online channels have traditionally provided a more satisfying customer experience than in-store shopping, ACSI research has shown that heightened expectations for ecommerce perfection, and perhaps a bit of nostalgia for brick-and-mortar, have consumers reporting higher rates of happiness with storefront purchases. Overall retail satisfaction increased by 1.3 points from last year, while happiness with e-commerce fell by 3 points to 78, noted as its lowest point since 2001, the study indicated.

What can decision-makers in this field do to get consumers excited to shop on the Internet again?

According to the ACSI study, respondents weren’t dissatisfied with every aspect of their ecommerce journeys. Consumers rated the ease of checkout and payment processes at 90 and the variety and selection of merchandise at 88. However, they were less happy with the usefulness of the recommendations made by online retailers, rating this aspect of the experience at a low of 80.

Ecommerce service is a difference-maker

In light of the information presented in ACSI’s study, it would appear that online merchants have their work cut out for them this coming year.

According to Examiner, a study conducted by Bain and Co. argued that a mere five-percent improvement in service can lead to profit boosts between 25 and 95 percent.

This is in large part due to the effect of memorable service on customer retention, which continues to present problems for businesses across industries. Studies have shown time and again that it costs more to attract new shoppers than to keep old ones coming back, so decision-makers must do their best to hold on to devotees.

Related article: How to Get Smart about Customer Lifetime Value

Merchants suffering from customer satisfaction woes may want to revitalize their approach to service, looking into new live help technology that can foster more effective support strategies.

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This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.

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