ANN ARBOR, MICH. —
Online and specialty
merchants outpaced the overall retail industry
in delivering customer satisfaction, a new report
shows, with Amazon besting them all.
The annual study by the American Customer
Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which gauges the
shopping experience on a 0 to 100 scale, shows
that consumer satisfaction with retailers fell 0.5
percent to 75.3, the biggest drop in two years.
Much of the decline was centered on gasoline
service stations, reflecting the rising price of oil.
E-tail once again led the rankings with an ACSI
score of 80. Amazon and Netflix swapped places
for the lead in e-tail, with Amazon rising 1 percent
to 87 and Neflix dropping 1 percent to 86. Newegg
(down 2 percent to 84) and Overstock (up 1
percent to 83) earned the next highest scores.
Within brick-and-mortar, specialty retailers
trended upward for a third straight year, rising 1.3
percent to 78. Barnes & Noble lead the channel
for a fourth straight year, with a slight 2 percent
drop to 82, followed closely by Borders (down 1
percent to 80), which last week filed Chapter 11.
Best Buy rose 4 percent to 77, which was still
below the sector average.
Among office-supply chains, Staples improved
5 percent and Office Depot vaulted 7 percent,
both to all-time high ACSI scores of 81. A stronger
emphasis on customer service and improved
rewards programs helped lift both retailers. In
contrast, OfficeMax retreated 4 percent to 74.
Customers see value in OfficeMax prices, but
gave low marks to service that failed to keep up
with their expectations, ACSI said.