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Report: Publix, Aldi, H.E.B. and Winn-Dixie tops in customer experience

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Waban, Mass. — Research released Monday by Temkin Group, which ranked the customer experience at 206 large companies across 18 industries, found that several grocers are offering excellent customer service.

According to the 2012 Temkin Experience Ratings, Publix earned the top spot in the grocery industry and is the second overall company across all 206 companies in the study. Aldi, H.E.B. and Winn-Dixie also scored very well. These four grocery chains received "excellent" customer experience ratings, a level that was only earned by eight companies across all 18 industries.

The overall grocery industry earned the top spot out of 18 industries, slightly higher than fast food chains and retailers but well ahead of other industries. The majority of the grocery chains earned "good" ratings. Piggly Wiggly, which is the lowest scoring grocery chain, earned an "okay" rating.

"Grocery chains are doing a good job of meeting their customers’ needs," said Bruce Temkin, author of the report and managing partner of Temkin Group.

The Temkin Experience Ratings evaluated functionality, accessibility and customer emotional interaction with the company. Publix received the highest Functional rating, Publix and Aldi received the highest Accessible ratings, and Publix, Aldi, and Winn-Dixie received the highest Emotional ratings.

Piggly Wiggly received the lowest scores in all three experience dimensions.

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Bloomingdale’s launches new loyalty program

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Bloomingdale’s said Monday it has launched a new customer loyalty program called Loyallist in all U.S. retail locations and online.

The new tender-neutral program delivers benefits to any customer shopping with a U.S. address at Bloomingdale’s — regardless of how they pay. Members of the loyalty program will accumulate points each time they shop and for every 5,000 points will receive a Reward Card worth $25. The Rewards Card can be redeemed on all merchandise (exclusive of gift cards) and are issued the moment earned, in the store or overnight via e-mail if earned online, for use the very next day.

“Through this new loyalty rewards program, Bloomingdale’s is reinforcing our commitment to our customers,” said Tony Spring, president and COO. “We want to recognize those shoppers who continue to be loyal to our brand and engage new shoppers by offering a very distinctive program.”

The program will kick off on March 8 during a semi-annual promotion.

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eBay boosts mobile offerings with new partnerships

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Barcelona — eBay on Monday announced a number of strategic moves including a new partnership with major carrier Three.co.uk; integrations with merchants such as Yotel and Entradas.com; and mobile app updates that evolve mobile commerce selling and shopping experiences for consumers.

In 2011, eBay mobile commerce generated $5 billion in retail volume, and PayPal mobile generated $4 billion in payment volume. eBay’s mobile apps have been downloaded more than 70 million times, according to the company. In 2012, eBay expects to do $8 billion in mobile commerce retail volume, and PayPal expects to process $7 billion in mobile payment volume.

“Mobile commerce is changing the way people shop and pay, and the ways in which merchants of all sizes engage consumers,” said John Donahoe, eBay Inc. president and CEO. “We’re seeing a new retail paradigm emerge through mobile. Consumers are in control, and they want to shop anytime, anywhere. That creates opportunity.”

eBay and Three.co.uk have partnered to deliver mobile devices pre-loaded with eBay apps, bringing the mobile shopping experience directly to consumers. With this deal, Android smartphones on the United Kingdom’s fastest growing network will now come with eBay’s mobile app directly on the device.

PayPal launched on Monday the PayPal Carrier Payment Network, to make mobile carrier payments more viable for a wider number of online merchants. PayPal will work with its more than 250 carriers and more than1,500 digital goods merchants to expand the carrier payment experience. PayPal teamed up with Spain’s leading ticketing company, Entradas.com, to allow consumers to buy tickets with a mobile phone and PayPal, and also collaborated with Yotel to allow consumers to soon book rooms via PayPay on a smartphone.

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