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    Wal-Mart, Walgreens top their channels for customer satisfaction

    TROY, Mich. (PRNewswire)--What do Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kohl's, and Circuit City have in common? They were all rated at the top of their retail channels by consumers surveyed across the country.

    TROY, Mich. (PRNewswire)--What do Wal-Mart, Walgreens, Kohl's, and Circuit City have in common? They were all rated at the top of their retail channels by consumers surveyed across the country. Released today by Meridian, Inc., a national leader in retail communications, the Meridian RSCORE Retail Benchmarking Study points to the reasons why some retailers are meeting consumer needs--and why others may be falling behind.

    Although grocery store chains differ regionally, making it difficult to name a winner, the grocery channel itself ranked number one in overall satisfaction nationally with a score of 86. The drug store channel came in second with an 84, and warehouse stores third at 83. Tied for fourth were the mass merchant and consumer electronics channels at 82; followed by midline and department store channels, also tied with a ranking of 81. The lowest satisfaction rankings were found in the home improvement and office supply channels, which were tied at 79.

    Shoppers named Walgreens as the top retailer in terms of overall satisfaction with most recent visit--the drug store chain was given a strong RSCORE of 89. Respondents gave similarly high ratings to Wal-Mart (85) for mass merchants, Kohl's (85) for midline stores, Circuit City (84) for consumer electronics, and Sam's Club (83) for warehouse stores. The RSCORE itself is based on a 100-point index measuring overall shopper satisfaction; a top-rating indicates "excellent"; the lowest index ratings on the scale signals "very poor" consumer satisfaction performance.

    The findings are based on shoppers' attitudes and perceptions toward national retailers in August and September. The study was developed by Meridian as a quarterly retail benchmarking survey to quantify retailer success from the consumer point of view, including measurement of factors specifically in the areas of merchandise, store environment, service, and overall satisfaction. One big conclusion: With a movement of even one or two points in RSCORES having a resounding impact on retailers' bottom lines, retailers should pay heed to consumer reactions measured during the back-to-school season in order to attract and retain customers in the critical upcoming holiday season.

    One of the most significant findings of the Meridian RSCORE survey is the importance consumers place on a store's advertised merchandise being in stock and available, which was the factor most closely associated with consumers' overall satisfaction with their retail shopping experiences. In fact, merchandise attributes--the availability of advertised items, desired sizes, good selection, trusted brands and good quality--were found to be the strongest determinants of overall shopper satisfaction over all attributes evaluated.

    Of secondary importance were store environment factors--chief among those being shoppers' ability to find staff to help them and the ease of locating advertised sale merchandise. Other store environment attributes, in declining order of importance, included easy-to-navigate store layouts; helpful in-store signage; attractive d

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