Why are retailers still struggling so much with CX?

by | Jul 25, 2018 | Public Relations

Myriad new research has stressed that brands must focus on providing high quality customer experience (CX) to gain loyalty—but even amid a flurry of next-tech tools like AI, retailers keep missing the mark. And things aren’t getting better: according to a new report from Forrester, multichannel retailers’ CX quality remained flat—and 36 percent of digital retailers’ scores have decreased significantly since last year.

Contrary to popular belief, making customers happy is not the single best way to achieve loyalty—feeling appreciated and confident are equally as important in the retail industry. According to Forrester‘s US 2018 Customer Experience Index data, 86 percent of multichannel shoppers and 87 percent of digital shoppers who feel appreciated intend to spend more with the brand—a clear indication as to why understanding which emotions evoke loyalty matters.

“Few industries have felt disruption like retail, and many are choosing the wrong path forward because they’re not focusing on the drivers that improve customer experience where it counts,” said Cliff Condon, Forrester chief research and product officer, in a news release. “CX is directly linked to driving revenue—Forrester estimates that a 1-point improvement in a big-box retailer’s CX Index score can lead to an incremental $244 million in revenue—so it’s vital for retailers to identify what consumers want and invest in those elements that drive loyalty. Only then will retailers see an improvement in the CX quality that their customers now demand.”

Based on a survey of more than 110,000 US online adult consumers, Forrester’s CX Index measures and ranks nearly 300 U.S. brands across 19 industries to identify how well a brand’s customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. Of the 287 U.S. brands ranked in 2018, 42 multichannel and 11 digital retailers were analyzed to determine how customers perceive their experiences and how CX drives loyalty.

Most notably, newcomer Trader Joe’s claimed the top spot in multichannel retail, thanks to its ability to provide the most positive experiences of all 287 brands ranked. Costco Wholesale and Neiman Marcus also placed second and third on the multichannel list, while Home Shopping Network, QVC and Zappos.com were the three leaders for digital retailers.

Among the key findings:

Trader Joe’s ranks first for traditional retailers

This is the first year we included Trader Joe’s in the CX Index, and the California-based grocer excelled with the best “convenience” scores of any multichannel retailer.

Barnes & Noble made the biggest jump: from 19th to seventh place

By hosting unique local events and offering top-of-the-line customer service, Barnes & Noble climbed in our rankings.

Home Shopping Network claimed the top spot for digital retailers

HSN unseated Etsy as the top-ranked digital retailer, with superior customer service agents and crystal-clear return policies.

The full report is available for purchase here.

Watch part one of Forrester’s webinar series on the future of retail to learn more about how the retail industry is changing.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter