Chewy.com was a clear winner, ranking number one overall out of 220 brands and 39 retailers.
Brands across industries had to pivot their customer experience (CX) strategies during the pandemic and it seems retailers fared well turning challenges into opportunities.
In its annual ranking, Forresterreveals the scores of 220 brands across 13 industries and retailers had a good showing. To meet consumers’ expectations, retail brands quickly embraced digital transformation, added new shopping options, and instituted measures that emphasized their safety, it said. Four of the top 11 brands in the full “2021 US Customer Experience Index (CX Index)” are retailers — more than any other single surveyed industry. Overall, retailers as a group saw no significant change in their industry average score (74.1 out of 100). The Index ranked 39 retail brands.
“The common thread among these top retail performers is those things we needed most during the pandemic,” Fiona Swerdlow, VP, research director, Forrester, said in a blog. “Pets (and their supplies), groceries, masks, and home goods defined a lot of life in lockdown, and US consumers felt that these retail brands stood by them during a difficult year.”
Chewy.com was a clear winner, ranking not only top of the retailer list, but number one overall out of 220 brands and 39 retailers. In 2020, the pet care retailer met the needs of homebound consumers’ and their animals. Chewy.com customers grew 42.7% year over year.
“As ‘pet parents,’ fully 28% of Chewy.com customers are ‘devotees’ — that is, those customers are willing to forgive these brands’ mistakes, pay a premium for the brands’ products, keep their business with the brands, and spend more over time,” said Swerdlow. “To meet this growth, the company invested in automation and fulfillment capabilities, introduced services such as ‘Connect With a Vet’ telehealth and compounded pet meds, launched online gift cards, and transitioned customer support teams to work from home to continue providing service.”
Etsy, which ranked third place overall and was the No. 2 retailer on the Index, capitalized on its unique merchandise assortment. “The company introduced customer experience-enhancing features such as installment payments and search filtering around expected delivery dates,” said Swerdlow.
Trader Joe’s, which ranked third for retailers and No. 4 on the overall Index, earned its high score by continuing to “delight customers with high quality, well-priced private label goods, and ready assistance from cheery Hawaiian shirt-clad ‘crew members.’”
Costco, which came in No. 11 overall, provided its members with core needs, such as food, housewares, pharmacy, over-the-counter medication, small electronics, and consumer electronics. Swerdlow also pointed to Costco’s 2020 investments in e-commerce and logistics to meet overall growth.
For the Forrester Customer Experience Index Online Survey, US Consumers 2021, Forrester conducted an online survey fielded in February through April 2021 of 85,073 US individuals ages 18 to 88. For a full list of rankings, download Forrester’s report here (purchase required). Below we pluck the top ten retailers from the CX Index.