According to a research report released yesterday by the Peppers and Rogers Group, Amazon.com and American Airlines have built the largest return customer base on the Internet.
Rounding out the top five sites surveyed were Biztravel, Charles Schwab and Dell. Overall, financial services was the leading category for sophisticated customer loyalty programs, followed by books and travel.
“It was noticable in our research that the leading sites such as Amazon.com and Dell continue to innovate in the area of customer loyalty,” said Julien Beresford, director of research for Peppers and Rogers, in an interview with E-Commerce Times.
The Review Process
To determine which Web sites were most successful at developing customer loyalty, researchers identified 26 capabilities that enable sites to build competitive advantages. More than 150 Web sites from around the world were reviewed, out of which 65 were singled out for extensive analysis, resulting in the list of the 25 best sites.
Each site was judged by how well the Web site identified its customers and prospects; how it differentiated them by need or value; how well the site interacted with its customers; and how well the site was able to customize the information it gets.
Beresford also explained that the Net-only companies were the strongest in customer loyalty. “Frequently, new dot-com companies are able to focus on customer loyalty in ways that legacy companies are not able to,” said Beresford.
1-Click Ordering Builds Loyalty
The report explains that one of the prominent qualities of leading sites was a 1-click ordering function. This function makes the customer’s job easier, reduces the possibility of receiving faulty information and improves the chances of obtaining the right order. To offer 1-click ordering, the site must store all the necessary information about a customer, such as billing, shipping and credit card number. Nearly two-thirds of the sites reviewed providede-commerce functionality, and among those, 21 percent offered 1-click ordering.
Another common feature in Web sites with strong customer loyalty features is the integration of all relevant data. “Never make the customer tell you the same thing twice,” said the report’s author. Customers appreciate every effort the company makes to leverage the information already provided to “pre-fill” choices during the Web experience.
About Peppers and Rodgers
Based in Stamford, Connecticut, the Peppers and Rogers Group was founded in 1993 by authors Don Peppers and Martha Rogers. The research and consulting company specializes in customer loyalty programs as a marketing tool.