It’s been five years since Best Buy unwittingly acquired the “showroom” moniker thanks to online-upstart-turned-serious-competitor Amazon.com. I’ve previously detailed the showroom showdown between the two electronics giants as well as Best Buy’s issues converting its shoppers into buyers. And since then, Best Buy has made concerted efforts to improve its profile among consumers by investing in customer service, updating the in-store experience (e.g. the Samsung Experience Shop), and promoting the Internet of Things (IoT) while minimizing the space out-of-date products waste on the sales floor (so long, digital cameras). Perhaps more importantly, though, Best Buy implemented a competitor price matching policy aimed at preventing shoppers from leaving stores (or abandoning its website) empty-handed. So how have consumers reacted to Best Buy’s changes? New analysis from Prosper Insights & Analytics’ monthly survey of more than 6,000 U.S. consumers nationwide reveals the progress Best Buy has made with shoppers over the past five years as well as the challenges that continue to haunt the electronics retailer in its battle with Amazon. Continue reading →
With speculation about the future of Sears Holdings running rampant among analysts and amid news of additional store closures, one has to wonder which retailers might step up with shoppers should a Sears shutdown become a reality. Earlier in the year, I detailed the highs and lows for Sears, according to insights from Prosper’s consumer survey of more than 6,000 U.S. adults 18+. One positive that remained for Sears was its first place position in appliances; however, while Sears currently leads in this category, the once dominant department store’s share is undoubtedly slipping with shoppers. With some of retail’s biggest boxes, including Home Depot and Best Buy, vying for the appliance crown, recent analysis reveals that Lowe’s appears to be best positioned to succeed Sears’ reign. Continue reading →
While consumers overall recently voted L.L.Bean the best in customer service, if you ask a Millennial, he or she will likely disagree. New analysis from Prosper’s Customer Service Champions ranking reveals a vast disparity between two of the most divergent generations, Millennials (born 1983-1997) and Boomers (born 1946-1964), when it comes to the retailers they elevate to customer service excellence.
First, let’s take a look at Millennials’ choices. This generation crowned online giant Amazon.com as their Customer Service Champion, followed by Victoria’s Secret, Best Buy, Nordstrom, and Macy’s. As an online leader and de facto search engine for many, Amazon’s top position among that this tech-savvy generation should come as no surprise. Add to that the Amazon Prime membership program, which is most heavily concentrated in young customers – nearly two out of five members are under the age of 35 – and Amazon’s got a recipe for loyalty among the Millennial generation that few retailers have been able to successfully copy. Continue reading →
Amazon.com, retail disruptor extraordinaire, has just been given the boot. The Bean Boot.
Crowning 2013’s inaugural list of Customer Service Champions, Amazon slipped to second position in 2014, behind L.L.Bean (the former #2). Prosper Insights & Analytics’ 2014 Customer Service Champions were developed from a write-in vote from more than 6,000 U.S. consumers (18+) during the third quarter of 2014 and weighted by each retailers’ relative size in annual revenues as well as its fan base, as defined by a retailer’s promoters (per the Net Promoter Score.*)
This year’s results provide interesting insight into the mindset of consumers. In the last decade, Amazon quickly rose to top of mind among consumers with deep discounts, a wide array of products and services, and free shipping incentives, providing the catalyst for changing the traditional definition of customer service in the digital age. In contrast, century-old L.L.Bean has relied less on the heavy promotions that have marred retailers’ profit margins during the recession and in the years since, instead upholding customer satisfaction through quality products – Guaranteed to Last™ – as well as the no-threshold free shipping incentive that consumers love. With consumers slowly easing back into spending, and retailers searching for solutions to pull back from deep discounting while still remaining competitive, L.L.Bean certainly provides a model for differentiating via satisfaction and quality which resonates with today’s consumers.
Prosper Insights & Analytics, a leading provider of advanced business intelligence, released the Holiday 2014: Retailers to Watch at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference today. Pam Goodfellow, principal analyst for Prosper, presented unique findings about select retailers along with emerging holiday trends. Continue reading →
With the back-to-school season winding down, it’s about that time of year for shoppers to look forward to the winter holidays. And while it may seem premature to preempt Halloween with the holiday discussion, last year one in five began their shopping prior to October, so many consumers are already planning their budgets for this all-important spending season. In July, we asked consumers to share their preliminary thoughts on holiday spending, and it appears that retailers may be in for a brighter holiday season compared to 2013.
According to the Prosper Spending Score, the overall outlook* for holiday gift spending in 2014 is up more than 8% from last year. While celebrants planning to spend more on gifts are relatively stable year-over-year at 9.1%, those budgeting less for gifts dropped 11% from 2013 to 38.0%. The majority of consumers (52.9%) are planning to keep budgets in line with the previous year. Directionally speaking, our preliminary Spending Score has served as a relatively accurate bellwether for consumers’ holiday intentions; last year’s lackluster score in July foreshadowed a nearly 3% drop in planned gift spending (released by the National Retail Federation the following October). Similarly, bullish preliminary outlooks for holiday spending preceded spending increases in 2010 and 2012. Continue reading →
Consumers may forgive, but they will not forget. Unfortunately in Target’s case, shoppers are slow to even muster up that forgiveness. With its holiday data breach impacting every level of Target’s organization, one must look to the most important piece of the equation – customers – to assess the ongoing damage and pinpoint what’s working for the retailer versus what’s not. For this new analysis on the current state of the former discount darling, we’re examining the point of view from one very influential group of shoppers, women. Continue reading →
Amazon.com may be finally facing a worthy adversary in the retail arena: itself. The online giant recently announced its intent to increase the $79 annual fee on its popular Prime membership by $20 to $40, but our consumer insights suggest that its shoppers aren’t buying into plan, signaling what could be a dangerous move in an already hyper-competitive retail environment where loyalty is hard to win and easy to lose. Continue reading →
When we released our predictions for Holiday Winners and Losers in November, Target was poised for a “win” in a not-so-robust, hyper-competitive season of shopping. With a nice mix of heavy-spending Gen X-ers as well as a base of those covetable Millennials, Target made an attractive value proposition to budget-conscious shoppers: discount shopping without feeling like you’ve shopped at a discounter. In addition, Target’s sought-after in-house brands and exclusive merchandise assortment likely helped the retailer keep at least a few eyes (and wallets) from wandering over to holiday’s biggest winner, Amazon.com.
Fast forward two months, and instead of touting a positive holiday season, Target is attempting to clean up one big mess. The Target name has now become synonymous with words like data breach, identity theft, and [lack of] financial security – a warning and case study for other retailers. But what has become of Target shoppers? Continue reading →
Challenge anyone to name a positive aspect of Sears and chances are that person will opine about the department store’s vast real estate holdings or the value remaining in house brands Craftsman, DieHard, and Kenmore. While we could certainly question the validity of Sears’ worth in real estate in today’s increasingly digital society, it’s the Kenmore stronghold that’s up for debate today.
Previously, I’ve discussed Sears’ waning, aging, and uninvested customer base in women’s apparel, and it seems as though these same problems are leeching into that feather in Sears’ cap: appliances. On the plus side, our insights indicate that Sears continues to be the top destination for everything from coffee makers and vacuums to microwaves and refrigerators; about a quarter of consumers overall (23.5%) assert that Sears is the store they would head to first for these items. Unfortunately, as its big box competitors have ramped up their offerings, service, and customer share in other merchandise categories, Sears has begun to slump in appliances. Continue reading →