Apple took home a 5-point jump in customer satisfaction, according to the E-Retail Satisfaction Index published today by customer analytics site ForeSee.
The iPhone maker's retail Web site scored 85 out of 100 in this year's index, compared with 80 last year. Only one other retailer, RueLaLa.com, managed a 5-point gain though that site grabbed an overall grade of only 75.
Despite Apple's ascent, it could only rise to second place, having achieved the same grade as QVC. On top as usual was Amazon.com, which captured a score of 89, up from 86 last year.
Some other notable players that made the list included Newegg.com at 82, Netflix.com at 81 (a 4-point drop from last year), BestBuy.com at 80, HPShopping.com at 79, and MicrosoftStore.com at 78. Scores of 80 or higher on the index are considered superior in terms of customer satisfaction.
"Amazon continues to set the standard for e-retailers," ForeSee president and CEO Larry Freed said in a statement. "The truth is that every consumer who has visited Amazon knowingly or unknowingly benchmarks all other experiences against it, and why wouldn't they? They do everything and they do it well."
Commenting on the, Freed added that Amazon's strength is "going to spell even bigger trouble for Netflix. The two companies used to vie for number one. Now Netflix is floundering just as Amazon is making deeper moves into streaming video and even original programming. Netflix regained some lost ground, but it's no longer a contender."
Based on the opinions of almost 21,000 visitors to the top 100 retail Web sites, ForeSee's 2012 index judged online retailers on four key factors:
- Price - The perceptions of the fairness and competitiveness of the retailer's prices.
- Merchandise - The appeal, variety, and availability of products on the Web site.
- Web Site functionality - The usefulness, convenience, and variety of online features available to site visitors.
- Content - The perceptions of the accuracy, quality, and freshness of the information on the site.
A high score on the satisfaction index is also an indicator of how well the retailer will fare at retaining existing customers and attracting new ones.
"Highly satisfied Web Site visitors are nearly 70 percent more likely to recommend the Web Site to others than dissatisfied customers," Freed said. "In the modern world of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, it is even more imperative to provide the best experience possible to your customers because any experience has huge potential to be amplified, for better or for worse."