OPERATIONS

Kroger tops consumer survey for customer service

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Toronto, Ontario, Canada — Survey results released Wednesday by customer experience management firm Empathica Inc. revealed that customer service is the key driver of brand advocacy in retail pharmacy.

In the survey, during which the Empathica Consumer Insights Panel surveyed consumers on their perception, attitude and opinion towards the retail pharmacy experience, Kroger ranked highest in customer service among both mass and small-chain pharmacies.

The top six pharmacies in terms of market share are Costco, CVS, Kroger, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart. Of these pharmacies, Kroger received top marks in nearly all customer service categories, including choice, service and trust.

Four-out-of-five Kroger customers agree or strongly agree that they would recommend their pharmacy to friends and family. For other brands, only about 40% surveyed would advocate for their primary pharmacy.

“Retail pharmacies can create a ‘win-win’ relationship with consumers by providing exemplary customer service; in turn, there is an opportunity for customers to ‘work’ for their primary pharmacy as brand advocates,” said Dr. Gary Edwards, chief customer officer, Empathica. “There is little room for winning a price war in pharmacy retail. The real battlefront for pharmacies is in customer service and convenience.”

While the survey results showed a strong link between customer service and customer advocacy, there are several areas where pharmacies can make adjustments to enhance the customer experience. Of the three mass retailers (Walmart, Kroger, Costco) and three specialty drug chain retailers (Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid), results showed that both types of pharmacies can improve by learning from the other’s best practices.

Empathica found that mass retailers are lacking in terms of providing loyalty programs. Only one-third of mass retail pharmacy customers indicated that they are aware of loyalty programs, compared to 43% of specialty drug chain retail customers.

Specialty drug chain retailers can look to mass retailers as exemplars in providing in-store promotions. While only 32% of specialty drug chain retail customers answered that they “always” find attractively-priced promotions, 44% of mass retail customers had the same response to this question. It appears that while mass retailers capitalize on buyer power to offer the best deal, specialty drug chain retailers are better suited to relying on loyalty programs.

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J.Iris says:
Mar-18-2013 05:56 am

It is true that a business
It is true that a business firm should know about their customers more, like what they want, in order to easily understand them and serve them profitably. - Michael Courouleau

J.Iris says:
Mar-18-2013 05:56 am

It is true that a business firm should know about their customers more, like what they want, in order to easily understand them and serve them profitably. - Michael Courouleau

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OPERATIONS

Target and Sam’s Club execs team up at RadioShack

BY Mike Troy

New York — Former Target EVP stores Troy Risch and former Sam’s Club senior VP and general merchandise manager Huey Long have joined RadioShack.

Risch will serve as EVP operations at RadioShack and oversee the company’s network of 4,700 stores and 1,500 wireless phone centers in the United States and 1,100 dealer and other outlets worldwide. Long will serve as EVP strategy and consumer insights and be responsible for marketing, business development and omnichannel.

Both will report to Dorvin Lively who was named RadioShack’s interim CEO after James Gooch resigned from that position several months ago.

Risch is a veteran of the operational ranks at Target where he spent 19 years before leaving the company last year. Risch began his career as a store manager and by 2006 had been elevated to the role of EVP stores. Long’s retail background is more varied. He spent the past two years in a merchandising capacity at Sam’s Club, but prior to that was director of global merchandising at Amazon for two years, president of Premier Resources International, COO of AB&T Sales various merchandising roles at Circuit City where he spent eight years.

Both men joined RadioShack in the wake of a disappointing financial performance during the third quarter ended Sept. 30, an ongoing search for a permanent CEO, unclear prospects for the future and a stock price that has sunk to the low single digits. Sales during the third quarter declined slightly to $1 billion, but the company reported a loss of $47 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a meager profit the prior year.

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Report: U.K. holiday shopping still behind 2011

BY Katherine Boccaccio

London — A report released Wednesday by the International Council of Shopping Centers and Path Intelligence found that, although U.K. consumers are stepping up their shopping at the nation’s shopping centers, the pace is still trailing 2011.

The Path Index — compiled by ICSC and Path Intelligence and measuring shopping-center footfall and time spent per visitor — rose by 3.3% from the prior week to 140.2 (January 8, 2012 = 100) for the week ending December 16, 2012. Although the latest Path Index reading stood at its highest level of 2012, it was 6.6% below its comparable week of the 2011 holiday season.

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