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Study: Ecommerce continuing to drive sales growth, customer satisfaction

Mar 07, 2013 Dave King

Electronic payment methods have been a game-changer for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), leveling the playing field with larger companies and corporations in many ways.

"The e-commerce landscape changes faster than more traditional industries, and the rules can be rewritten by new players or new technologies, like mobile," said Claes Fornell, founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). "Disruption will always be a part of e-commerce, but innovation will likely keep the sector near the top in customer satisfaction."

According to ForeSee's ACSI, consumers' approval rating for ecommerce websites grew another 1.2 percent, up to 81.1 percent since the last ratings were released, while online retail satisfaction improved by the same percentage. A separate report by eMarketer affirmed online shopping's popularity, finding that the worldwide ecommerce market surpassed $1 trillion in 2012. Cyber Monday also set an all-time record in 2012, according to multiple reports, far outpacing total expenditures from the previous year.

While Fornell suggested SMBs have benefited the most from ecommerce - "keeping up with or sometimes surpassing" bigger companies, he said - brick-and-mortar retailers have seen a revival from the technology as well. In fact, ForeSee President and CEO Larry Freed said that these companies are pumping substantial resources into making electronic payment platforms ideal for customers.

Ecommerce solutions are far from a static technology right now. For one thing, Freed suggested that "mobile is going to reshape ecommerce," particularly from a convenience perspective. A separate study by Adobe conveyed just how popular smartphones and tablets are becoming as shopping channels, as more than half of consumers plan to use personal devices to make purchases in 2013. In addition, mobile application usage will jump 15 percent year over year, providing yet another tool retailers have at their disposal.