By Jeremy Morris, Associate Editor, US Daily Review.
A consumer study of America’s leading brands has shown that the retailers driving economic and sector growth are doing so by creating a sense of theater around their in-store experiences.
Half of the top 100 companies overall are retailers. Within the Top 10, four – Wegman’s – 4th, Publix – 5th, Trader Joe’s – 6th and HEB – 10th – were set apart by creating what the report describes as “dramatic, theatrical experiences for customers.”
David Conway, senior partner at the report’s authors, Nunwood, commented: “Those retailers who create a compelling sense of theater for their customers are outperforming the sector average by between 8% and 12% when it comes to customer experience. These are overwhelmingly nimble, privately owned businesses that have remained close to their customers and invested in staff culture.
“As the impact of e-commerce and m-commerce continues to grow, it’s those retailers that still see staff as a cost to be driven down, rather than a lever of growth, who will face serious challenges. Minimum wage retail jobs simply don’t make sense anymore
“By combining investment in great staff with careful design of theatrical experiences, some American retailers are bucking the trend – outstripping modest sector growth, and creating jobs.
“The report also reflects recent criticism of Apple over low levels of pay in its retail division – which, whilst still a top performer – has dropped from 10th place across all sectors in 2011, to 37th place in 2012. Apple has responded to this criticism with snap pay rises of up to 25% and it will be interesting to see how this affects their scores next year.”
The Customer Experience Excellence study is an annual report created by Nunwood. It looks at more than 100,000 customer comments and covers every major brand in the US. Comments regarding the brands are analysed and used to score the brand against six criteria that Nunwood uses to assess the quality of customer experience. These are: valuing a customer’s time, demonstrating empathy, resolving issues, matching the customers’ expectations, personalizing service and demonstrating corporate ethics.