Survey: Amazon, Best Buy treat customers best online

Circuit City, Staples Web sites called best performing

Amazon.com and Best Buy provide customers the best overall online experience, according to a survey released by Keynote Systems, a Web site performance measuring company.

Amazon was No. 1 in terms of search satisfaction among the leading online retailers measured for the survey. Amazon was also the top-rated site in six of nine categories, including price satisfaction, product research, and overall site navigation and organization, Keynote said.

Best Buy was also in the top group of sites in seven of nine categories, including ease of purchasing process and customer support, the survey found. In the past year, Best Buy also made the most progress in the way it treats its customers online, Keynote said.

The online companies surveyed, all of which are based in the U.S., included Amazon.com, Best Buy, Buy.com, Staples, Circuit City Stores, Dell, Office Depot, Sears Brand, Costco Wholesale, Target Brands and Wal-Mart Stores. During May and June, Keynote looked at how more than 2,200 consumers interacted with the Web sites and detailed how each site performed in various areas, including customer satisfaction.

In terms of performance, the Web sites of Circuit City and Staples were best, Keynote said. While Circuit City's Web site was the most reliable and experienced little or no downtime, Staples' Web site was the most responsive, which meant that its pages loaded faster than the pages of the other Web sites.

"A site's ability to handle user traffic without degrading is a critical indicator of site capacity and readiness for the upcoming holiday season," the Keynote statement said. "Keynote found four of the sites were not able, even during this relatively calm period, to handle load without degrading significantly. Two sites reported over 20 hours of outages, where a large number of the users to the site would have been unable to complete a purchase."

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