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 →
With the challenging holidays officially in the rear view, ‘tis the season for store closures. While Macy seems to be bearing the brunt of the criticism, Sears Holdings, relatively speaking, slipped under the radar with its recent disclosure that it will be shuttering a “small percentage” of Sears (as well as Kmart) stores in 2016. This confirmation appeared to be par for the course for the department store dinosaur, which just might be dying the slowest death in retailing history. But is there any silver lining for Sears? Using consumer insights from Prosper, I’ve analyzed the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Sears predicament to examine whether or not there is anything salvageable for this century-old chain going forward. 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.
It’s a highly competitive retail marketplace. Corporations are always looking for a competitive edge. With that in mind, here are five unique business insights with one goal—to arm business professionals with valuable pieces of consumer intelligence to take to their executive team. These insights will provide a different perspective, aid in decision making, and impress them, all at the same time. Remember these and you’ll have something to talk about if you run into your boss at the water cooler.
1. What to say when your boss asks about the spending outlook for retail… 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 →
December 10, 2013
Consumer electronics remain a popular gift category this holiday season. 36.1% of Americans have added items such as TV’s, DVD players and mobile devices to their lists. And it appears that they may get their wish; one-third of consumers plan to buy electronics for others. The latest findings from Prosper Insights & Analytics profiles specific retailers that offer electronics and uncovers which of these retailers’ shoppers are most likely to be impulsive in their purchase decisions. Continue reading →