An easy-to-use Web site and excellent customer service helped 800.COM emerge as the No. 1 electronics site in the latest PowerRankings announced today by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Forrester PowerRankings combine survey data from online consumers and unbiased shopping tests to provide objective rankings of leading eCommerce sites. Following 800.COM are Amazon.com, buy.com, and Egghead.com.
“800.COM’s keys to victory were its quick and simple shopping experience and first-rate customer service,” said Tom Rhinelander, senior analyst at Forrester. “But despite the win, the company can’t rest — Amazon.com and buy.com are nipping at its heels. To stay on top, 800.COM should address its greatest weakness, which is delivery and returns.”
By a narrow margin, Amazon.com and buy.com take second and third place. Shoppers are most impressed with Amazon.com’s top-notch search engine and clear return policy, but the site’s lack of inventory information can leave customers frustrated. buy.com has a reputation for excellent prices, and it also earns high marks in customer service. Its glaring weakness continues to be the absence of convenience features like address book and gift wrapping. Egghead.com is well off the pace; its scores reflect problems like an ineffectual search engine and dead ends during the first-time checkout process.
“The top three electronics sites are in a pitched battle, with any site capable of victory given a few improvements. The real laggard was Egghead.com,” added Rhinelander. “Consumers ranked the site last in all criteria but one, and the Forrester shopper wasn’t impressed with many characteristics including its restrictive return policy and restocking fees.”
For the updated PowerRankings, Forrester surveyed 19,000 consumers from Greenfield Online’s 600,000-person online panel. These consumers identified the eCommerce sites that they had purchased from most recently and rated their experiences. A team of Forrester shoppers then evaluated the shopping experience for sites with a statistically valid number of consumer respondents, performing a series of rigorous tests in six areas. The consumer data and Forrester shopper scores were then synthesized and weighted, with consumer views accounting for two-thirds of the overall PowerRanking. A complete set of PowerRankings results — both consumer and Forrester shopper data — are made available to all ranked companies for no charge.
In the coming weeks, Forrester will be announcing results in additional PowerRankings categories. Information about each of the categories, including a complete set of rankings and scores, can be found at the PowerRankings Web site — powerrankings.forrester.com.