QVC triumphs with rave reviews from customers and quick phone support in the latest PowerRankings of online general merchandise retailers by Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Forrester’s PowerRankings combines survey data from online consumers and unbiased shopping tests to provide objective rankings of the leading US eCommerce sites. The companies that rank below QVC are, Best Buy, and

Top scores from consumers in all but one category help QVC secure victory. The site notes shipping costs with product descriptions, its phone representatives answer calls in less than a minute, and customers can use online chat to answer pressing customer service questions. However, the site isn’t perfect. Search results are often overwhelming lists, and customers can’t easily edit account information like addresses or shopping preferences.

In a tight battle for second place, wins with excellent search and a long feature list. The site sports the fastest express buying of tested sites, helpful customer reviews, extensive product descriptions, and an easy-to-use gift finder. Drawbacks include no privacy policy links on checkout pages, vague inventory status, and slow-to-respond phone-based customer service.

Best Buy comes in third, with much quicker average email response times than its rivals, low shipping costs, and online express order tracking. But shoppers must call to cancel orders, and the site lacks features like gift-wrapping and customer reviews.

“While QVC’s site doesn’t offer as many features as its rivals, happy customers are the key to its success,” said Tom Rhinelander, research director at Forrester Research. “It’s exactly the opposite situation for Best Buy, where low marks from its customers hold it back. As for Amazon, slow responses from customer service remain its most striking weakness.”

Consistent navigation, enhanced 3-D views for some products, and a clearly posted privacy policy in the shopping basket at last-place do not make up for other weaknesses, including vague inventory information, irrelevant recommendations on checkout pages, and the highest shipping charges of tested sites.

For the latest PowerRankings, Forrester surveyed 20,000 consumers from the NPD Group’s online panel. These consumers identified the eCommerce sites that they purchased from most recently and rated their experiences. A team of Forrester shoppers then evaluated the shopping experience on sites that have a statistically valid number of consumer respondents by performing a series of rigorous tests. The consumer data and Forrester shopper scores were then synthesized and weighted, with consumer views accounting for two-thirds of the overall PowerRankings. A complete set of PowerRankings results — both consumer and Forrester shopper data — is made available to all ranked companies free of charge.

Additional information about each of the categories, including a complete set of rankings and scores, can be found can be found at the PowerRankings Web site —