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12/28/2005
05:23 PM
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Online Shoppers Less Happy Near Christmas

Still, online retailers did a better job managing customer expectations as the holiday shopping deadlines approached this year versus last year, according to a benchmarking study that measures e-shoppers' satisfaction.

Online shoppers were less satisfied with retail Web sites in the last week before Christmas than in the rest of the holiday shopping season, a company that measures consumer satisfaction said Wednesday.

On a 100-point scale, the aggregate satisfaction score for retailers in ForeSee Results's benchmark in the last week was 77.4, a drop of 0.5 percent from the rest of the season.

"The days leading up to the holiday pose a huge challenge for online retailers, who haven't yet figured out how to maintain high customer satisfaction during this critical juncture," Larry Freed, president and chief executive of ForeSee, said in a statement.

The same trend was found last year, but the drop was a lot less this season, Freed said.

"This year, online retailers did a better job managing customer expectations as the holiday shopping deadlines approached," he said.

ForeSee's Holiday Shopping Satisfaction Benchmark measures satisfaction according to customer reaction to specific Web site elements, such as content, site performance and ordering process.

Despite the findings, however, online holiday shopping revenues rose by 24 percent as of Dec. 22 to $17.48 billion, 24 percent more than the same period a year ago, according to ComScore Networks.

Online retailer Amazon.com reported a record season, selling more than 108 million items. The most number of items sold in a single day was 3.6 million on Dec. 12. The company did not disclose the value of the sales.

In consumer electronics, Apple Computer's iPod ruled the season, with three models occupying the top three slots. In order, starting with No. 1, were the iPod Nano, the iPod Video and the iPod Shuffle.

The top-selling books were The Chronicles of Narnia Box Set (paperback) by C.S. Lewis. One of the books was the subject of a Hollywood movie released during the holiday season.

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