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Top 20 e-retailers in customer satisfaction; Amazon on top

BY Marianne Wilson

Ann Arbor, Mich. — Amazon continues to set the bar higher, achieving the highest rating on the annual Top 100 E-Retail Satisfaction Index by customer experience analytics firm ForeSee. Amazon outdid its 2011 score, climbing three points to 89, and four points higher than the second highest scoring websites, Apple.com (85) and QVC.com (85). (Scores of 80 or higher on ForeSee’s 100-point scale are considered superior customer satisfaction performances.)

“Amazon continues to set the standard for e-retailers. The truth is that every consumer who has visited Amazon knowingly or unknowingly benchmarks all other experiences against it, and why wouldn’t they? They do everything and they do it well,” said author Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee.

Apple is also one of the most improved sites from last year, surging five points as did RueLaLa.com. Foot Locker (79) and JCrew.com (78) each jump four points, and 11 e-retailers improved three points. Netflix is four points down from a year ago, but it regained two points from the Index’s holiday season measure.

“We’re measuring the biggest players in the game, and they just keep getting better and better,” Freed said. “Because customer satisfaction, as we measure it, is predictive, that’s a good sign not only for the consumer experience, but for the bottom line of internet retailers as well."

Here are Top 20 scoring retailers (listed with their score):

  1. Amazon.com (89)
  2. QVC.com (85)
  3. Store.Apple.com (85)
  4. Keurig.com (84)
  5. Avon.com (83)
  6. LLBean.com (83)
  7. 1800Contacts.com (82)
  8. BN.com (82)
  9. Newegg.com (82)
  10. OrientalTrading.com (82)
  11. Scholastic.com (82)
  12. Vistaprint.com (82)
  13. Vitacost.com (82)
  14. Walmart.com (82)
  15. HSN.com (81)
  16. Kohls.com (81)
  17. Netflix.com (81)
  18. SwissColony.com (81)
  19. VictoriasSecret.com (81)
  20. Walgreens

The study uses ForeSee’s technology, which is based on a scientific methodology created at the University of Michigan and shows that higher satisfaction leads to improved loyalty and likelihood to make future purchases.

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Survey: Wealthy shoppers rank Nordstrom as top luxury retailer

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York — Shoppers in the United States earning at least $150,000 annually rank Nordstrom highest among luxury retailers, according to a survey by the Luxury Institute.

According to the 2012 Luxury Consumer Experience Index, which ranks retailers based on customers’ evaluations of a brand’s store personnel, shopping environment and degree of satisfaction with the total experience, Nordstrom earns the top overall score of 8.41 out of 10.

Bergdorf Goodman ranked second (8.37), and Barneys New York third (8.23).

Nordstrom was also found to be the most widely visited luxury retailer, with 36% of wealthy consumers reporting shopping at Nordstrom in the past 12 months.

Only 7% of shoppers have visited Barneys, and 6% have shopped at Bergdorf Goodman, but exclusivity helps with pricing: 76% of Bergdorf’s shoppers and 74% of Barneys’ say that goods in those stores are worth a significant price premium; 65% say the same about Nordstrom’s merchandise.

"Retailers, especially in luxury, are selling experiences to customers more than they are selling any particular good," said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. "In the case of a retailer like Nordstrom, we see that a program of continuous improvement in the customer experience can lead to higher degrees of loyalty and improved financial performance."

In addition to its top overall LCEI score, Nordstrom ranks first on two critical measures of customer loyalty: 96% of high-income shoppers plan to shop at Nordstrom again, and 94% recommend Nordstrom to family and close friends.

Survey participants reported average income of $292,000 and average net worth of $3 million.

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Study: Retail employee turnover increasing

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Philadelphia — Management consulting firm Hay Group reported Tuesday that employee turnover levels in the retail industry are on the rise.

According to a new survey from Hay Group, an improving job market and solid first quarter sales are impacting turnover. Retailers report a median turnover rate of 67% for part-time store workers, a 33% increase over 2011. One in five retailers report that they have experienced more turnover in the first part of 2012.

“Higher employee turnover is a double-edged sword,” said Maryam Morse, national reward practice leader of Hay Group’s Retail practice. “On one hand, it’s a harbinger of an improving economy, but on the other it’s a significant challenge for retailers who will need to devote more time and resources to retention and recruiting. Retailers are very focused on profitability right now, which is likely leading to an increased demand for part-time workers, who can be scheduled to work at only the highest traffic times.”


For the remainder of 2012, 82% of retailers surveyed expect to see the most turnover among their store hourly workers. Nearly one-third of respondents say they expect to see high levels of turnover among hourly workers at distribution centers.


Hay Group’s survey analyzed responses from 54 major U.S. retailers including Ascena Retail, Carter’s, Meijer, OfficeMax, Petco, PetSmart, Ross Stores, The Limited and Zale Corp. to determine the rate of turnover for key positions within retail organizations, and related retention strategies.


The survey also found that growth in e-commerce and mobile channels is escalating a talent challenge at both corporate offices and distribution centers. With more retail and technology companies competing for the same talent, turnover rates in corporate e-commerce positions are nearly double 2011 levels. E-commerce growth has led to the development of more online fulfillment centers, creating greater opportunities and turnover among both hourly workers and management positions at distribution centers.

Over the past year, the turnover rate for hourly workers at distribution centers increased by 29%.

When asked about key tactics for reducing turnover, 61% of retailers cite career pathing and 54% point to training. Only 30% cite changes to compensation plans.

Although compensation is not the top strategy for retaining employees overall, Hay Group’s March 2012 survey of retailers’ salary budgets found that it is one of the tools used to hold on to high performers. Retailers have budgeted an average of 3.6% in merit increases for top performers this year, up from 3.2% in 2011 and notably more than the 2.8% planned for employees overall this year.

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