It’s an Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, Amazon world, but one retailer continues to top the online giant when it comes to shopper experience.
For the second year in a row, outdoor outfitter L.L.Bean tops the list of Prosper Insights & Analytics’ Customer Service Champions over second place Amazon.com. Customer Service Champions were developed from a write-in vote from more than 6,000 U.S. consumers (18+) in September 2015 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.*) See last year’s winners here and 2013’s top picks here. Following L.L.Bean and Amazon (in rank order) are: Nordstrom,Kohl’s, Lands’ End, REI, Zappos.com, JC Penney, QVC, and Macy’s.
With Macy’s recently reporting a holiday same-store sales decline of 4.7% as well as plans to shutter 40 stores in 2016, one has to wonder if the “Magic of Macy’s” still resonates with consumers. To be fair, the holiday season gave the retail advantage to consumers and was loaded with deep discounts, wild store hours, and, well, Amazon.com. However, competitor JCPenney posted a 3.9% same-store sales gain to the Macy deficit, a reversal of trends we saw during Ron Johnson’s tenure at JCPenney, when Macy’s scooped up JCPenney’s coupon-hungry bargain hunters. So what went wrong at Macy’s over the holidays? A look at consumer insights collected by Prosper Insights & Analytics reveals three key reasons why the hallowed department store went bust during the busiest shopping season of the year: 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.
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 →
As many a marketer will likely attest, too often in today’s retail environment consumers’ final decision in the buyer process comes down one little five letter word: price. Shoppers, armed with their mobile devices, maintain a direct connection to the best deals, promotions, coupons, and offers with just a tap of their fingers, many times giving shoppers an intelligence edge over retailers competing for those buying dollars. In this age of smart consumerism, what’s a retailer to do?
While it remains to be seen how (or if) the 2013 Marketplace Fairness Act will impact sales for Amazon.com, what we do know is that the online leader seems to have a loyal constituency in its Amazon Prime Membership. For a $79 yearly fee, this group of elite shoppers receives free two-day shipping on eligible items and access to Amazon’s Instant Video streaming service as well as the Kindle Lending Library – and CEO Jeff Bezos is keeping the perks coming.
The risk to competitors is fairly obvious; this shopper coalition gives Amazon a top notch spot in their retailer consideration sets. Our intel tells us that Prime members’ propensity to shop Amazon.com is about double that of the general population for several major retail categories, including Women’s and Men’s Apparel, Shoes, Electronics, Sporting Goods, Linens and Bedding, and Health/Beauty Care. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Prime members are shopping Amazon exclusively or that they shun more traditional brick and mortar retailers. So let’s take a look at who these shoppers are, why they are so valuable to Amazon, and which retailers may be facing a Prime threat. Continue reading →