With leading performances in five out of six scoring brackets, Amazon.com won top honors in the Movies category of 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 the leading eCommerce sites. The companies following Amazon.com include Express.com, Reel.com, buy.com, CDnow, and BigStar.

Exceptional service, speedy delivery, and rich features drove Amazon.com into the first-place position. Shoppers valued its simple return process, helpful and timely email responses, and customer reviews. Express.com earned second place with a smooth checkout process and real-time inventory data, but its slow page loading and order confirmation impaired many online experiences.

“Consumers keep going back to Amazon.com because of its hassle-free shopping experience, reasonable prices, and first-class customer service,” said Tom Rhinelander, senior analyst at Forrester. “Express.com proves to be a real competitor, but it still comes up short in its core category.”

Reel.com offered a solid search engine and great prices, but weak customer service landed it third place. Shoppers also gave high ratings to the site’s features, including extensive staff reviews and recommendations, but they missed the basic perks of gift-wrapping, wish lists, and an address book. Coming in fourth, buy.com offered the best prices and solid service with quick and friendly help, but it lacked basic features, an efficient return policy, and poor inventory status information.

Trailing the category leaders were CDnow and BigStar. CDnow came in fifth, offering high prices, inconsistent shipping options, and a slow return process, although it provided an express checkout for repeat buyers. Despite strong search tools and an easy return process, BigStar came in last. Its overall shopping experience was marred by forced registration, no customer reviews, the absence of gift-wrapping and wish list features, and high shipping costs.

For the updated PowerRankings, Forrester surveyed 19,000 consumers from Greenfield Online’s 400,000-person online panel to identify the most popular eCommerce sites. A team of Forrester shoppers then evaluated the shopping experience for these sites by 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 are made available to all ranked companies.

In the coming weeks, Forrester will be announcing results in additional PowerRankings categories, including Apparel, Brokerage, Computing, Flowers, Health, and Toys & Games. Additional 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.