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E-Commerce Customer Satisfaction Increases

Customer satisfaction with the e-commerce industry improves for the second year in a row and nears an all-time high, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, released by the University of Michigan with e-commerce partner ForeSee Results.

The e-commerce industry overall rises to a score of 80.0 on the ACSI 100-point scale, closing in on its all-time high score of 80.8 in 2003. The e-commerce sector continues to outpace most other sectors of the economy in terms of satisfying customers and exceeds the national ACSI aggregate score (74.9) by 7 percent.

"The Internet is a hyper-competitive environment and companies need to evolve and adapt quickly to customer needs and expectations or risk losing them," said Larry Freed, an online customer satisfaction expert and president and CEO of ForeSee Results. "The improved scores are evidence that e-commerce companies are working hard to maintain and improve the industry's extremely high customer satisfaction standards."

Every fourth quarter, the ACSI E-Commerce Report measures customer satisfaction with the following sub-industries: online retail, online auction, online brokerage and online travel companies.

The E-retail industry climbs 2.5 percent to 83, led by a new high by BarnesandNoble.com (+1% to 88) and strong performances in the "all others" category (+2.5% to 82), which measures satisfaction with online retailers not big enough to be singled out in the report.

Amazon.com remained at 87 for a second year and continues to be one of the most satisfying companies in all of the ACSI. Aggregate satisfaction for the e-retail industry (83) still outshines the offline retail sector (74.4) by 11.6 percent.

Barnes & Noble and Amazon have taken very different approaches to their online operations. Whereas Barnes & Noble has remained focused on its core competency selling books, CDs and DVDs, Amazon has branched out from its roots as an online bookseller to selling almost everything imaginable, from gourmet food to HDTVs. Yet both companies maintain superior customer satisfaction scores.

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