Who Buys TVs and Computers Online?

In honor of Cyber Monday I’m continuing my examination of online shopping.

In my previous post, I showed that U.S. consumers are more satisfied with their experiences of buying computers and TVs in a store than they are when buyimg them online. But who buys these electronics online? To answer that question, I examined the online purchases by age group. As you can see in the chart below:

  • Online is an important channel across all age groups, ranging from 20% of TV purchases by 18 to 24-year-olds to 47% of computer purchases by 25 to 34-year-olds
  • Online is a more important channel for computers than for TVs across all age groups
  • 30-year-olds are the “sweet spot” for online computer purchases while 40-year-olds are the “sweet spot” for online TV purchases

The bottom line: Cyber Monday should be a big day for electronics

2012 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

Temkin Group has just released the 2012
We introduced the Temkin Web Experience Ratings last year. The 2012 Web Experience Ratings include 159 companies from 18 industries and is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers.

Congratulations to the top firms in this year’s ratings: Amazon, credit unions, USAA, PNC, Southwest Airlines, eBay, Sam’s Club, ShopRite, JCPenney, and ING Direct. Of course, not every company has earned good web experience, especially the companies at the bottom of the 2012 ratings:  Charter Communications, Humana, Qwest, Cigna, Time Warner Cable, Anthem, Road Runner, Medicare, Blue Shield of CA, and TracFone.

We also  examined industry averages and found that banks and investment firms have earned the highest Temkin Web Experience Ratings followed by hotel chains and retailers. But consumers gave very low ratings to Internet service providers, health plans, and TV service providers.

The research also examines how individual companies are rated relative to their industry peers. The following 11 firms outscored their industry average Temkin Web Experience Ratings by 10 percentage points or more: Kaiser Permanente, Amazon, ShopRite, Southwest Airlines, USAA, Starbucks, H.E.B., Publix, credit unions, Marriott, and Apple.

The following 15 companies fell 10 percentage points or more below their industry averages: Wells Fargo Advisors, AAA, Charter Communications, Delta Airlines, Citibank, Bank of America, Humana, TracFone, Qwest, Old Navy, U.S. Airways, Rite Aid, Kohl’s, Kmart, and Charter Communications.

Temkin Group also analyzed changes from the 2011 Temkin Web Experience Ratings. Led by TV service providers and insurance carriers 11 of the 12 industries that were in both the 2011 and 2012 ratings improved since last year.

Seventy-two percent of companies that were in the 2011 and 2012 Temkin Web Experience Ratings showed improvement. Led by Comcast (Internet and TV service), Allstate, AOL, Charter Communications, Toshiba, and Sam’s Club, 20 companies improved by 10 percentage points or more between 2011 and 2012. Only three companies­— Kohl’s, TracFone, and Rite Aid—declined by 10 percentage points or more during that timeframe.

Do you want to see the data? Go to the Temkin Ratings website where you can sort through all of the results for free. You can even purchase the underlying data if you want to get more access.

The bottom line: Web experience is not good enough for how important it is

Report: 2011 Temkin Web Experience Ratings

We just published a new Temkin Group report, 2011 Temkin Web Experience Ratings.

Do you want to know which companies deliver excellent online experiences and which ones leave a lot to be desired? Then this report is for you.

Here’s the executive summary:

Amazon.com, Regions, and USAA took the top spots in the 2011 Temkin Web Experience Ratings. We asked 6,000 US consumers to rate their recent online experience. This data allowed us to rate 119 companies across 12 industries. Only 7% of those companies received a “good” or “very good” Web Experience rating. While there is some diversity at the top of the ratings, TV service providers, Internet service providers, and health plans dominate the bottom of the list. To improve the online experience, companies need to master the entire experience, examining what Temkin Group calls SLICE-B.

Download report for $195

Here’s how the 119 companies ended up in the ratings:

Download report for $195

Are you interested in getting a deeper look at the data? Or do you want to see the differences across age, ethnicity, education, and income segments? Then you should visit Temkin Ratings at www.temkinratings.com.

The bottom line: Web interactions are too valuable to continue wasting with bad experiences.

Report: Online Gift Card Buying Needs Work

We just published a new report, Online Experiences For Buying Gift Cards Need Work.

The report examines the Websites of 12 companies using Temkin Group’s SLICE-B experience review methodology.

Here’s the executive summary:

Gift cards are a popular choice for consumers, especially around the holidays. Almost all major stores and restaurants sell them online. How user-friendly are those online purchasing processes? To answer this question, we used Temkin Group’s SLICE-B methodology to evaluate the experience of 12 large companies: three grocers (Kroger, Publix, and Safeway), three electronics retailers (Apple, Best Buy, and Radio Shack), three department stores (J.C. Penney, Kohl’s, and Macy’s), and three restaurant chains (Applebee’s, Chili’s, and Outback Steakhouse). Outback Steakhouse and Radio Shack were the only sites to receive an “excellent” rating. At the other end of the spectrum, Safeway, Chili’s, Kroger, and Best Buy were at the bottom with “mediocre” ratings. Many of the sites lacked key functionality such as free shipping, sending the cards at a later date, and sending multiple cards in a single order.

Download report for $195

Here are the overall results:

Download report for $195

The bottom line: Make it easier for people to give you money

Report: Evaluating Online Store Locators

We just published a new report, Online Store Locators Miss A Key Part Of The Experience.

The report evaluated the online experience of five large retailers (Home Depot, Kroger, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart) and five large banks (Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, US Bancorp, and Wells Fargo) using our SLICE-B experience review methodology. The report has 12 figures which provide details of the reviews and highlights several best practices that we found.

Here’s the executive summary:

Just about every bank and retailer provides a store or branch locator on its site. But how user-friendly are the experiences? Mostly mediocre. Temkin Group evaluated 10 large retailers and banks using its SLICE-B experience review methodology. Wells Fargo ended with the only “excellent” rating and Target was alone at the bottom with a “poor” rating. All of the sites struggle to support user’s goals after they find the nearby stores.

Download report for $195

Here are the overall results from the evaluations:

Download report for $195

The bottom line: Are you doing a good enough job helping people find your locations?

Don’t Let Social CRM Become New Buzzword

What happens when you combine a new buzzword (“social”) with an old buzzword (“CRM”)? You get the opportunity to waste money in entirely new ways.

Many CRM projects failed because they focused on the implementation of technology, not on the core needs of the business. Social CRM has the same potential. That’s why one of the 7 keys to customer experience that I listed in CRM Magazine was “Don’t get too distracted by social media.”

Am I recommending that companies stay away from social media? Absolutely not. Firms definitely need to tap into peer-to-peer and community-centered interactions. But they should focus on a few applications that match their business strategy. If you’re wondering about the spectrum of options, Altimeter Group has posted a list of 18 use cases for social media.

Here are the top social media projects that I recommend for companies (when it comes to customer experience):

  • Social support. Find ways to encourage and enable customers to help other customers; especially when there is significant technical support required. Blend your support people into the dialogue where needed and repurpose good advice into knowledge items that can be repurposed in other channels.
  • Feedback communities. Create online communities of your key customer segments so that you can regularly get feedback on everything from product development ideas to the language used for marketing campaigns. Make sure to actively manage the community.
  • Active listening. Monitor social outlets for early warning of issues and to get deeper insights into problems that you find through other listening posts. Handle this insight as part of a comprehensive, cross-channel voice of the customer (VoC) program.

The best way to defend yourself against negative social media feedback is to give customers a good experience to begin with. This lowers the number of people who might say something bad about you and motivates other customers to come to your defense if they do.

The bottom line: Social CRM represents opportunity, but not a panacea

Improve Web Readability With… Readability

Like most people, I have a backlog of things that I want to read. One of the items on my list was an article by David Pogue in the New York Times in November called “Cleaning Up The Clutter Online.” Pogue highlights a free tool for the Web called Readability that reformats Web pages to makes them significantly easier to read. Here’s some of what Pogue said about Readability

With one click, it eliminates EVERYTHING from the Web page you’re reading except the text and photos. No ads, blinking, links, banners, promos or anything else… The text is also changed to a beautiful font and size… It completely transforms the Web experience, turning your computer into an e-book reader. I think I’m in love.

My take: As a user-centric type of guy, Pogue’s description of Readability grabbed my attention. So I gave it a shot. Wow! The application does a phenomenal job of making sites easier to read. You configure it to meet your needs and voilà! Cluttered Web pages transform into easy-to-read pages.

To give you a sense of what this application can do, here are two screen shots of my previous blog post “7 Keys To Customer Experience In 2010” — before and after I applied the readability application.

The bottom line: Hopefully this is just the start to more usability-improving technologies.

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