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Amazon has for many years been the king of e-commerce by several measures, including brand valuation, where shoppers begin their searches, time spent on e-commerce websites,  and even as a place for retailers to spend their advertising dollars. Jeff Bezos is well-known to focus on customer experience, and in previous years Amazon also held on to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) top spot for internet retail. But the latest ACSI data [download page] shows that this particular crown has now been lost to another player that also monetizes a subscription model.

Costco has entered the internet retail ACSI rankings for the first time, gaining a score of 83 out of 100. By contrast, Amazon – which has held the top spot since 2010 – has fallen by four points to 82, matching it with the same aggregate score for smaller e-commerce brands.

Overall, internet retailers have seen an erosion in customer satisfaction of 2.4% to an average score of 80. This slide is also seen in the retail sector as a whole – across the six categories studied, the average has slipped by 0.9% to hit 77.4, with falls across each category.

The report attributes the drop to an increase in employee turnover, which is impacting the quality of customer service received. Previous research has highlighted that excellent customer service acts as a way for brands to cut through the noise, and that the function increasingly overlaps with marketing.

Meanwhile, Costco also leads the Department & Discount Store category, with Sam’s Club (80) and BJ’s Wholesale Club (79) coming in at second and third place. One of the few brands to grow in customer satisfaction in this sub-sector is Belk (78, up 1%). According to the report, the rise could be associated with the development of its private label offering, which has been seen as an attractive proposition by consumers.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) uses data from interviews with around 300,000 US consumers annually as inputs for analyzing customer satisfaction. Measures are reported on a scale of 0 to 100. Data is based on surveys conducted from January through December 2018.

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