U.S. consumers who shop online continue to enjoy the experience more than going to brick-and-mortar stores, according to customer satisfaction rankings released today, and Amazon continues to lead the industry.
A report produced by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) and analytics firm ForeSee gave the general e-commerce industry a ranking of 82 out of 100 in 2012 -- a 1.2 percent increase from the year before. Brick-and-mortar stores, however, ranked 76.6.
Not surprisingly, the companies that have seen the most growth are small online retailers and brick-and-mortar retailers that also have a Web presence. This category of retailers, which have more room to grow than an established online giant like Amazon, increased by 3 percent to a score of 82.
"Brick-and-mortar retailers are not conceding the Internet to online natives such as Amazon," Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee, said in a press release. "They are investing heavy resources in providing a better experience for their customers, providing more evidence that competition is good for the consumer."
Of course, Amazon -- which a Harris poll recently named the most reputable company in the U.S. -- is still at the top when it comes to customer satisfaction. Ranking at 85 out of 100, Amazon's score actually dropped by 1 percent from the year before, but the figure still puts the company ahead of competitors like Newegg, eBay, Overstock, and Netflix.
eBay's score went up from 81 in 2011 to 83 in 2012, while Newegg dropped from 85 to 84, and Overstock dropped from 83 to 81. Netflix, which had a score of 74, went up by 1 percent to 75. The minor drop is actually good news for Netflix -- the company dropped 14 percent from 2010 to 2011.
Freed said Netflix's performance is a reflection of the competitive nature of the video-streaming business. Amazon, which has moved in on Netflix's territory in recent years, is one of those competing in the crowded streaming space. According to Freed:
Netflix's recovery comes amid increased competition and tough negotiations with content providers. Netflix knows that access to content is key, and creating exclusive content and a franchise that will help it secure a loyal following is a unique approach. But it remains to be seen if this tactic can return the company to the top of the online retail category.
The rivalry between Netflix and competitors has led to a fight for original and premium programming. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said today that the competition has been good for Netflix's relationships with the traditional networks it's been courting.