Surviving dotcom retailers have received a double boost after beating UK high street rivals in a report on customer service and being tipped to yield returns from next year by analyst IDC.
A survey of 4000 readers by consumer advocate Which? reported that, for customer service and the delivery of books, CDs and computer equipment, internet-only retailers outstripped the ecommerce operations of high street retailers.
Amazon topped the table in four categories, including customer service (69 per cent of its customers stated they were 'very satisfied' with Amazon's levels of customer service) and delivery (77 per cent of consumers were 'very satisfied').
Amazon, and other internet-only retailers such as Streets Online and Bol, also scored well on stock availability for CDs and books, while PC sites Dabs and Jungle beat their high street rivals on computers.
The websites of major high street names performed badly in the survey. Dixons, PC World and WH Smith prop up the table for both customer service and delivery, and only 16 per cent of customers at Dixons' website were 'very satisfied' with its customer service.
Tessa Russell, senior researcher at Computing Which? said: "If you're looking for a stress-free online shopping experience, opt for one of the online-only retailers.
"You're likely to find more stock and will often enjoy higher levels of customer service and delivery. Major high street names such as Dixons and PC World are clearly letting their customers down."
But overall, order fulfilment remains a worry. Recent research conducted by NOP for Consignia suggests that 70 per cent of ecommerce sites have finally recognised the issue, making delivery their number one priority in the run up to Christmas.
Consultants Accenture reported in January that two thirds of ecommerce orders placed in the run-up to Christmas 2000 were either delivered late or incorrectly.
Separately, research from IDC suggests that investors tired of seeing their net worth hammered by dotcom losses will finally begin to receive a return on their remaining dotcom investments next year.
John Ferrier, a senior analyst at the firm, said: "The good news is that investors will start to experience returns from surviving startups in the coming year." By 2003, IDC expects $11bn to be realised.
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