Consumers Rate Favorite Retail Web Sites

Though customers have infinite options for shopping online, a few companies stand out as favorites, according to STORES Magazine‘s inaugural Favorite 50 survey, conducted by BIGresearch, which ranks customers’ favorite online retail companies. The survey appeared in the magazine’s October issue.

The majority of the favorites ranked by consumers are some of the best known retailers, whether they are “pure play” online retailers or multichannel retailers. No jewelry retailers are listed among online favorites by consumers. However, many of the favorite retailers listed include jewelry as part of their merchandise mix.

Non-travel online retailing reached $170 billion in 2006, according to Shop.org. Sales for the second quarter were up 23 percent year-over-year and are on track to reach $200 billion for 2007. In addition, non-travel online retail sales volume is expected to continue to grow at a 12 percent annual growth rate well into the next decade.

E-tail giant Amazon.com tops the list this year while eBay.com came in second. Both companies represent a world of endless possibilities for shopping online, selling everything from fresh produce and gourmet foods to one-of-a-kind memorabilia, apparel and accessories—including jewelry, according to STORES, a National Retail Federation publication. Overstock.com, another pure-play Internet retailer, was ranked eighth by consumers.

“Online retailers are catering to their loyal customer base more than ever before,” said STORES publisher Rick Gallagher. “By providing a positive and memorable online shopping experience, retailers stand to gain loyal customers for life.”

The world’s largest retailer: Wal-Mart.com, came in third. Its recent trek into the social-networking scene is sure to work in its favor while the company attempts to lure new and younger shoppers, according to the magazine.

When it comes to redefining themselves, JCPenney.com has done a world of good with its new advertising campaign, STORES said. Fresh and trendy apparel lines and a new venture into beauty products, as well as a completely new look in stores and on the Web site, has helped JCP.com land the number five spot on the list.

Four other major retailers landed a top 10 spot, including BestBuy.com (fourth), Target.com (sixth), Kohls.com (seventh) and Sears.com (10).

Demonstrating the importance of search engines to ecommerce, Google.com (ninth) and Yahoo.com (16th) both were ranked among the top 20. Online retailers have begun to use these sites to their benefit by using strategic search marketing and advertisements on these and other affiliated Web sites.

The Favorite 50 online retailers is a list of e-commerce Web sites as ranked by consumers who use them. One of the questions asked in the survey was, “Over the last 90 days, which type of products did you research online before buying them in person? Jewelry and watches ranked 13th among consumers. Electronics (40.4 percent), apparel (21.9 percent), and appliances (21.6 percent) topped the list.