Bricks and Mortar Customer Satisfaction Is Up; Good Or Bad News For Retailers?

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"The fewer the people the quicker you're going to find a close parking space, find a clean store, find what you want, work with a cheerful clerk, make it through the check out lane and get back in your car and go."

The American Consumer Satisfaction Index has just issued its report on customer satisfaction in the bricks and mortar retail arena. According to their calculations, the degree of customer satisfaction was up in 2016 by 4.7% across all retail.

The survey's criteria include:

  • Convenience of store locations and hours
  • Layout and cleanliness of stores
  • Courtesy and helpfulness of staff
  • Variety and selection of merchandise
  • Website satisfaction
  • Frequency of sales and promotions
  • Ability to provide brand names
  • Availability of merchandise (in stock)
  • Call center satisfaction
  • Speed of check out

Ironically, it appears that the rise is in large part due to less foot traffic in the stores. E-commerce has drawn people away from the stores so a consumer is going to have a more relaxed experience with a less exhausted store clerk. Let's face it, the fewer the people the quicker you're going to find a close parking space, find a clean store, find what you want, work with a cheerful clerk, make it through the check out lane and get back in your car and go.

Consider that the entire department store sector, which in general saw a drop in retail sales in 2016, was with the exception of Nordstrom's up in customer satisfaction. In fact, JC Penney, which just announced it is closing 140 stores, saw an increase in customer satisfaction of 11%. Customers are smiling more at Penney's and other department stores but registers are ringing less.

Incidentally, Internet retailing, with a rating of 83 our of 100, provided more customer satisfaction than Specialty Retailing (80), Department Stores (78), Drug Stores (78) and Supermarkets (78). 

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