London, Thursday 15th November 2007: IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), has today released the results of its E-CUSTOMER SERVICE (e-CSI) INDEX - the key industry indicator and benchmark of e-retail customer satisfaction – as part of a joint venture with eDigitalResearch and Maximiles owned ipoints.co.uk.

The Index is created by surveying a sample of the 1.7 million members from the ipoints.co.uk online coalition loyalty programme, which provides an active base of online shoppers across a wide range of different retailers, and follows e-CSI Index’s issued in December 2006 and June 2007.

This quarter’s research (carried out between 22nd September and 8th October 2007) reveals that confidence in website security rose from 74% in June to 76% in October. It also revealed a two per cent increase to 76% in the number of online shoppers satisfied in finding help on the e-retailers’ websites when they have a query regarding a purchase, and an increase in satisfaction in response to their enquiries (via telephone or e-mail) from 72% in June to 73% in October. Internet shoppers’ satisfaction with information from e-retailers on their products and services also increased by one percentage point to 76%.

Furthermore, the research revealed overall customer satisfaction when shopping using the internet remained at 78% this quarter. In fact there was no drop in customer satisfaction levels between June and October across the other online issues surveyed, including pricing and website navigation.

Robert Barker, Chief Operating Officer at ipoints.co.uk, comments, "These results reveal that the online shopping experience is continuing to improve. It’s particularly pleasing to see that confidence in online security is increasing and that e-retailers are communicating better with customers.

“In the past, fears over online security have held back the internet as a key e-retail tool. Today, this is not the case. The Index proves that efforts made by e-retailers to make the transaction process much more secure have gone a long way to re-assure consumers in the run up to the fast approaching festive season – their busiest time of year. It puts e-retailers in a stronger position when competing with the high street. Also it will be those e-retailers who focus on improving their communications with customers who will benefit most with repeat and increased sales.”

Additionally, the Index revealed that the number of people who prefer to shop online is steadily increasing. In June 75% of respondents claimed they preferred to shop online for books, CDs, music, games, DVD/videos and software. In October this had risen to 76%. The biggest swing towards shopping online was amongst those who purchase food, drink and household suppliers. In June 21% of respondents preferred to buy these online. In October this has risen to 25%. There was no decline in preference for using the internet as a shopping tool across any of the sectors surveyed.

James Roper, CEO at IMRG, says, “This quarter’s results reveal steady progress in consumers’ experiences of e-retailers since June’s Index.

“It’s particularly encouraging that in less traditional areas of online shopping, such as food, drink and household supplies, that more people are going online. This has been aided by major supermarkets promoting their online delivery services.

“However, online brands need to up the ante in their offering to consumers, particularly with the festive period approaching fast as consumers increasingly turn to the internet for their Christmas purchases. To avoid the risk of any bad online shopping experience, we always recommend that consumers look out for the ISIS (Internet Shopping Is Safe) and IDIS (Internet Delivery Is Safe) logos which indicate that the retailer is part of the industry trust scheme.”

Chris Russell, Director at eDigitalResearch, said “I’m looking forward to seeing how online retailers rise to the annual challenge of the festive season when the next research for the Index is carried out in January and February. How they fare will dictate consumer confidence in shopping online throughout 2008.”

GRAPHS TO ILLUSTRATE RESEARCH ARE AVAILABLE FROM SUSANP@LOUDMOUTHPR.CO.UK

-ENDS-

About IMRG: IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), founded in 1990, is the industry body serving e-retail: www.imrg.org

About eDigitalResearch: eDigitalResearch, established in 1999, is a leading digital technology market research firm: www.edigitalresearch.com

About ipoints: ipoints (owned by France based Maximiles) operates the UK’s largest online coalition loyalty programme with over 1.7m members collecting ipoints from a wide range of different retailers: www.ipoints.co.uk.

Media Enquires:

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7981 9859

Email: susanp@loudmouthpr.co.uk

Web: www.imrg.org
Web: www.edigitalresearch.com
Web: www.ipoints.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 15th November 2007