Retails’ 7 Most Engaged Companies

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
a man wearing a suit and tie

Customers have countless shopping options and only those retailers that are able to build meaningful relationships with consumers will enjoy long-term success.

To discover which companies have the most engaging customer experience, Forbes examined hundreds of companies in a cross-industry report for its first annual “50 Most Engaged Companies” ranking.

To develop the 50 Most Engaged Companies List, Forbes ranked the U.S.-based companies from its Forbes Global 2000 list across three equally weighted dimensions: social media engagement, Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and year-over-year sales growth. Forbes Insights partnered with Sprinklr who provided data from the Sprinklr Business Index, which measures and analyzes the breadth of public interactions between brands and consumers across social media. Forbes Insights also partnered with Temkin Group, a customer experience research, consulting, and training firm, who provided data on Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and customer loyalty.

The entire list of the 50 most engaged companies is available here. Below is a quick look at the first seven retailers to appear in the ranking.

Amazon. The online giant was not only the first retailer named in the inaugural list, but also took first place overall. Amazon has reinvented and reimagined what the customer experience is and can be, and is handsomely rewarded with continuously increasing sales numbers and legions of loyal shoppers. Amazon is quite literally the customer engagement standard upon which the rest of retail and industry in general is judged.

Starbucks. The global coffee house chain has always been on-trend with not only its product array but in meeting its customers’ wants and needs. Starbucks has gone all in with its mobile offerings allowing customers to order and pay for their purchases from their mobile device and have their order waiting for them when they arrive. The success of the program has been overwhelming and has forced Starbucks to alter its in-store operations to keep pace with demand.

Footlocker. The athletic shoe and apparel retailer is investing heavily in its digital capabilities to connect with young, digital natives, as its sales continue to slip. While its financial performance has struggled, its customer base is still highly engaged with the brand, evidenced by the retailer’s fourth overall finish in Forbes’ ranking. To further enhance its experience both in-store and out, the retailer is investing in a new e-commerce platform, mobile app platform, and POS technology.

Lowe’s. The home improvement market is booming right how and industry leaders Home Depot and Lowe’s are enjoying steadily increasing sales. Lowe’s is not content to just rest on its laurels and continues to innovate with cutting-edge technology like augmented reality, robotics and mobile capabilities to keep its customers engaged. Currently Lowe’s is focused on supercharging its online platform, adding next-gen functionality like inventory and order visibility. Lowe’s came in ninth overall in Forbes’ ranking.   

Nordstrom. While much of the department store market continues to struggle, a successful start to the holiday shopping season has many operators hopeful of a turnaround. Nordstrom saw overall sales increase by 2% in Q3 2017, while store comps declined .9%, evidence of shoppers increased migration to digital channels. To build meaningful, long-term relationships with shoppers Nordstrom has instituted a number of customer engagement initiatives including: 24-hour curbside pickup for the holiday season; reserve online and try-on in-store; pop-in shops; supply chain enhancements, designed to reduce split shipments; and personalized service at its Nordstrom Local locations.

Dollar Tree. When discussing the changing retail landscape the digital revolution gets the lion’s share of the attention, but the ongoing discount craze has been equally disruptive to retailers. And no segment is immune ― from apparel to grocery to department stores shoppers are increasingly turning to the discount model to meet their shopping needs. The Dollar Tree has benefited greatly from the discount trend, with annual sales increasing by 33.7%. The retailer finished in 15th place in Forbes ranking.

eBay. Since its founding over 20 years ago, eBay has been committed to developing an engaging customer experience for both sellers and buyers on its ground-breaking digital auction platform. The retailer has been on the cutting-edge of a number of trends, including the one-day flash sale. While Amazon, gets plenty of well-deserved attention for its annual Prime Day event, eBay has been producing a similar annual event for 10 years. The retailer’s Green Monday, celebrated on the second Monday of December for a decade, is one of its busiest days of the year and provides shoppers deep discounts on a wide array of products. eBay finished in 25th place overall in Forbes’ report.

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