MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Survey: L.L. Bean, Amazon satisfy customers most during holiday

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Amazon.com and L.L. Bean tied for the highest company-level customer satisfaction scores during the 2013 holiday season. According to the ForeSee Experience Index: 2013 U.S. Retail Edition, Amazon and L.L. Bean both scored 90, while Priceline had the lowest company-level satisfaction score (75) of 100 top retailers included in the Index.

The study offers a comprehensive view of satisfaction at the company-level and across every applicable sales channel including store, contact center, web and mobile.

Key findings include:

  • Apple lost to the supermarket chain Publix Super Markets in Store satisfaction with a score of 86, three points higher than Apple’s score of 83.
  • While Amazon (88) led the pack for Web satisfaction, some retail sites such as Vitacost.com (86), Keurig.com (84) and LLbean.com (84) are creeping closer. Basspro.com (83) and Crateandbarrel.com (80) tied for the most improved sites with seven-point gains in customer satisfaction from last year.
  • Walmart (80) was the only company to experience a significant increase of more than three points in Mobile satisfaction, seeing a five-point improvement from 2012’s score. Again, Amazon led the pack with a mobile satisfaction score of 87.
  • QVC (88) beat Amazon (85) in contact center satisfaction by three points. Costco (85) and O’Reilly Auto Parts (85) tied Amazon in contact center satisfaction.
  • Almost half (49%) of people reported that the company they visited was one of several companies they considered equally when shopping.
  • The majority of customers (57%) were single-channel users with a satisfaction score of 82, and the remaining 43% who used two or more channels to engage with the company recorded a satisfaction score of 85.

“The results of ForeSee’s most comprehensive holiday report provide interesting insights into the holiday shopping experience,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “The data shows that customer loyalty for retailers is on the decline, yet consumers are satisfied with the top retail brands and had the best experience with retailers who mastered the multichannel experience. While Amazon continues to reign supreme across multiple channels, several retailers have identified critical drivers for increased sales and have made great strides to improve the multichannel customer experience, setting themselves up for success into 2014.”

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WhiteWave Foods appoints president for newly acquired organic business

BY CSA STAFF

The WhiteWave Foods Company has named Kevin C. Yost as president of the company’s newly acquired Earthbound Farm business. Charlie Sweat, previously CEO of Earthbound Farm, will move into an advisory role to ensure a smooth transition.

The rest of the Earthbound Farm management team will continue to serve in their current roles.

With the Jan. 2 completion of the Earthbound Farm acquisition, WhiteWave Foods said it will offer products across the most popular gateways for consumers to enter into the organic category — produce with Earthbound Farm and dairy with its established Horizon Organic brand.

As president of the organic brand, Yost will have full operational responsibility for the Earthbound Farm business. He will report to Gregg Engles, CEO and chairman at the WhiteWave Foods Company, and serve on the company’s executive leadership team.

Yost most recently worked with Saputo, a global CPG company in branded and private label foods and beverages. He has more than 22 years of CPG and food industry experience driving shareholder value at leading, multi-billion dollar companies, including Dean Foods’ Morningstar division, ConAgra Foods and Swift and Company.

“We are excited to have Kevin grow and lead the Earthbound Farm business and the company’s talent,” said Engles. “His deep experience leading companies through change, improving operations, leading product development, driving above-market revenue and earnings growth, and building winning cultures makes him the perfect leader for Earthbound Farm. We look forward to his contributions to build on the company’s success as we work together to change the way the world eats for the better.”

According to the company, Sweat is vacating the Earthbound Farm CEO spot after more than 15 years to pursue a variety of professional and personal ventures, including joining the board of directors of the nonprofit Global Green USA. Under his leadership, Earthbound Farm’s U.S. organic salad market share rose to 50% while the company’s organic sales grew from $10 million to more than $500 million.

“Charlie is a passionate leader who helped grow Earthbound Farm into a major player and influencer in the organic food industry and therefore a very attractive business to WhiteWave,” added Engles. “We look forward to benefiting from Charlie’s expertise during the transition in an advisory role, appreciate all that he has done to make the company a success, and wish him the same success as he takes on these new ventures.”

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Holiday 2013 was all about mobile, the gift that kept on giving

BY CSA STAFF

By Jay Henderson, Global Strategy Director, IBM Smarter Commerce

With the holiday shopping season behind us, retailers are celebrating the joyous bounty of this year’s shopping season. Consumers continued to show their digital prowess and appetite for online shopping as online sales soared across the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. According to the IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark, overall online sales from Thanksgiving weekend (Thanksgiving through Sunday, Dec. 1) were up 14.5% from the same period last year, with Cyber Monday online sales up 20.6% from 2012.

This year, several retailers embraced the broader omni-channel experience to bring the best of online shopping into the store to enhance, not detract, from overall online sales. Consumers installed 23% more retail applications over Thanksgiving and Black Friday as compared to the daily average over the last two months. Through these apps, retailers were able to push 37% more timely notifications to users that opted to receive alerts – these offers included nearby sales, special mobile coupons, even a price changes for watched items.

It was clear that mobile played a big (if not the biggest) role in helping retailers rake in record-breaking sales this year. On Cyber Monday alone, mobile traffic grew to nearly 32% of all online traffic, increasing by 45% from 2012. Mobile sales were also very strong, exceeding 17% of total online sales, an increase of more than 55% year-over-year. Here’s a look at how the big three shopping days stacked up in 2013:

Thanksgiving Day: Thanksgiving, which traditionally has been a slower day for retail sales, saw a nice bump as consumers took their smartphones and tablets to the dinner table, in an effort to get an early start on Black Friday shopping. Thanksgiving Day online sales grew nearly 20% from 2012, led by strong gains in department store online sales, which increased 60% year over year. Mobile sales increased 49% year over year as a component of all online sales, with tablets driving 16.5% of all online sales, almost twice that of smartphones, which accounted for 9%. Tablet users also averaged $126.49 per order, versus smartphone users who averaged $110 per order, indicating consumers buy on their tablets, but browse on their smartphones. And perhaps not all that surprising, New York drove the most online sales during Thanksgiving Day, rounding out the top five cities, which were Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Black Friday: Despite consumers shopping earlier this year, Black Friday sales were unfazed, still packing a punch in helping to drive online sales. Black Friday online sales reached all-time highs, growing nearly 20%. Mobile sales remained strong, reaching more than 21% of all online sales. Smartphones drove 24.8% of all online traffic compared to tablets at 12.8%, making it the browsing device of choice. However more dollars are being spent by tablet users, which drove 14.4% of all online sales versus just 7.2% for smartphone users.

Cyber Monday: Cyber Monday 2013 was a banner day for online sales, which were up 20.6% over Cyber Monday 2012. As the biggest online shopping day in U.S. history, Cyber Monday was also the capstone for the highest five-day online sales period on record, from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, a period which saw 16.5% year-over-year online sales growth. Mobile traffic was bigger than ever, some 31.7% of all online traffic, up 45% year-over-year. Mobile also saw strong sales, exceeding 17% of total online sales, and an increase year-over-year of more than 55%.

This holiday season gave a nod to the growing power of the mobile shopper and online’s influence in driving big time sales for retailers. If this year is any indication of where e-commerce is heading in 2014, retailers have a lot to be excited about.


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