A new competitive research study of 12 leading online CE retailers puts Amazon.com and BestBuy.com at the top of the heap in customer experience, while Circuit City's and Staples' e-commerce sites were tied for first place for level of service.
According to Keynote Competitive Research, here, which tests, measures and rates the online and mobile experience of customers, Amazon.com was the top-ranked site in terms of search satisfaction, and was one of the top-ranked sites in six of nine key categories including price satisfaction, product research and overall site navigation and organization. BestBuy.com showed the most significant gains in online customer experience over the past year and was the No. 1-ranked site in terms of pure customer satisfaction. BestBuy.com also ranked in the top echelon in seven of the nine key categories contributing to a quality online customer experience, including the ease of the purchasing process and customer support. The site's most significant gains came in search satisfaction.
Dell's Web site also saw significant gains in customer experience and satisfaction in the past year, with strong gains in the areas of product interest and the overall perceptions of the visual appeal of its site.
Meanwhile, Circuit City.com had the CE retail industry's best reliability, according to Keynote's service-level rankings studies, an indication the site was highly available and experienced little or no downtime. Conversely, Staples.com had the industry's best site responsiveness, an indication of how fast sites were in downloading pages and completing transactions.
A site's ability to handle user traffic without degrading is a critical indicator of site capacity and readiness for the upcoming holiday season, Keynote said. The company found that four of the sites were not able, even during the relatively calm May-June period, to handle load without degrading significantly. Two sites reported more than 20 hours of outages, where a large number of the users to the site would have been unable to complete a purchase.
The performance of a home page and search results often sets the expectations and perceptions for a site; Keynote therefore recommends that the home page and search process receive priority attention in terms of improving site performance. Several sites reported home pages that downloaded in over 2 minutes for the narrowband (dial-up) user, while Staples had the fastest home page for narrowband users, downloading in about 45 seconds. Staples also reported the fastest search results download time at 1.1 seconds for broadband and 12 seconds for dial-up.
More than 2,200 consumers participated in the study, which measured some 300 metrics for 12 sites including Amazon.com, BestBuy.com, CircuitCity.com, Costco.com, Dell.com, OfficeDepot.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com and WalMart.com.
For more information, visit Keynote's Web site at www.keynote.com.