Top 10 Retailers With the Best Customer Experience 2019

Tim Denman
Editor in Chief
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Top 5 Digital Retailers CX Scores

QVC: 78.8 78.7
Home Shopping Network: 76.1
Etsy: 75.2
Newegg: 75.2

“Experiential Retail,” “Customer-Centric Retailing,” “Differentiated Experience,” “Customer Experience.”

The terms continue to pile up, but they all point to the same basic principle. The customer is now in control of the shopping journey, and only those retailers that are able provide a memorable and meaningful experience will win their long-term loyalty.

In the not-so-distant past the key to winning the hearts, minds and wallets of shoppers was fairly straightforward. Retailers needed to provide competitive prices on in-demand products and keep those products abundantly in-stock.

However, the stack ‘em high and let ‘em fly era is forever in the rearview. Today’s consumers have exponentially more shopping options and while competitive pricing will always be a key factor in earning their business, customers are weighing more than just the deal when making their purchasing decisions.

According to Yes Marketing’s just released "The Retail Shopper's Journey to Loyalty" report more than half of customers (53%) are willing to pay more to buy from a retailer they are loyal to. This is good news for retailers wishing to avoid costly pricing wars that do nothing more than erode margin and devalue the brand’s intrinsic value. But how can retailers build shopper loyalty that is strong enough to withstand outside pricing pressure?

Top 5 Multichannel Retailers CX Scores

Neiman Marcus: 77.2
Trader Joe’s: 77.1
Barnes & Noble: 76.7
Hobby Lobby: 76.4
PetSmart: 75.4

Obviously, technology is a huge part of building a loyal shopping base. Whether it is pick-up towers, interactive screens, smart mirrors, AI-powered robots, etc., new and exciting technology will always be a draw. But cultivating a mutually beneficial relationship with shoppers requires more than just some shiny new tech. It requires engaging and personalized service, service that the customer cannot get anywhere else, service that literally draws the shopper back again and again.

We all know good service when we see it. Whether it is an associate rushing back and forth from the fitting room to the sales floor to fetch a different size/color for a customer, or going the extra mile to locate a missing item the computer says is ‘in-stock.’ When we are on the receiving end of this kind of personal attention we are grateful and infinitely more likely to make a purchase and return in the future to make another.

And unfortunately we also all know bad service when we see it as well. The uninformed associate that is clearly annoyed by your presence and is disengaged and disinterested in their tasks can make a shopper make a B-line for the exit and head straight to the competition ― likely never to return.

To uncover how well leading brands are able to build loyalty with their customer experience, Forrester conducted its annual “US Customer Experience Index” study. The report reveals that customer experience quality has remained mostly stagnant over the past year, indicating a need for retailers to re-examine their efforts as well as an opening for opportunistic retailers to close the customer experience gap and siphon some crucial market share from retail’s elite.

“No brand has risen to the top of our rankings and continued to improve — the mark of a true CX leader,” says Forrester’s Rick Parrish in the report. “As a result, we see no CX leaders, only languishers, lapsers, locksteppers, and laggards.”

The Distribution Of CX Index Scores

Source: Forrester, “US Customer Experience Index”

The report is a cross-industry look at customer experience based on Forrester’s Customer Experience Index. The research firm surveyed more than 100,000 U.S. consumers and each company was ranked in six categories: effectiveness, ease, emotion, retention, enrichment and advocacy. All six factors combine to produce the company’s combined CX Index Score. The scores are based on a 0-100 scale, with 0-54 being Very Poor, 55-64 Poor, 65-74 OK, 75-84 Good, and 85-100 Excellent. Interesting, no company, regardless of industry, scored in the Excellent category, with the vast majority turning in OK results.  

Forrester broke the retail segment into two categories: Digital and Multichannel retailers. The top 5 results from each category are on the right, and as you can see from the results both are in the bottom half of the Good category, with obvious room for improvement.  

How can retailers boost their scores? Putting customer service first from both a cultural and technological perspective is a good start. As well as aligning their goods and services with the wants and needs of their unique shopper set. For more on how to connect with today’s fickle consumers and ensure you are providing the best experiential path to purchase possible be sure to check out our newly released “8 Evolving Shopper Trends You Need to Know Now” special report. The report is the first RIS’ report utilizing our new animated, gamified format. The new multi-media experience has been receiving rave reviews from our readers and if you haven’t checked it out yet, be sure to give it a whirl.

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