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There’s no denying the high of a buy, but that’s not keeping shoppers happy. According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) report, retail customer satisfaction was down about 1.5% at the end of 2014—the first decline in four years. ACSI noted that customer satisfaction had declined or remained flat in Q4 2014 for all brick-and-mortar retailers, while online retail was the only category to see an increase.
The department and discount store category was the “lucky” one that remained flat, with a customer satisfaction score of 77 out of 100. Meanwhile, the supermarket segment saw its customer satisfaction score fall 2.6% to 76, largely due to rising food costs. Customer satisfaction for health and personal care stores dropped 2.5% to 77 out of 100, while specialty retailers declined 1.3% to 79.
As noted, one category did see success: internet retailers. Customer satisfaction with web shopping rose 5.1%, according to ACSI, hitting 82. Interestingly, the majority of pure play retailers actually saw declines, including Amazon, which fell to 86 but still claimed first place. Instead, the score was boosted by smaller companies and brick-and-mortar retailers’ online presence. Online shoppers cited efficient checkout and payment processes, easy site navigation and wide merchandise options as reasons they were satisfied with internet retailers.
October 2014 research by Forbes Insights, in association with Turn, identified something else retailers could do on their end to boost customer satisfaction: data collection. Among US retail marketing executives, 50% said data-driven marketing had helped them achieve a competitive advantage in customer satisfaction. On the flipside, while half had seen success with data-driven marketing, this means that the other half of retailers still had to improve—or begin—their efforts.
Few online retailers actually track customer satisfaction, though, based on Retention Science polling conducted in July 2014, indicating another area for improvement. Just 31.7% of US online retailers studied said they actively tracked customer satisfaction rate—the second-lowest response. Instead, respondents were more focused on sales-related data, such as conversion rate (88.5%) and average order value (71.2%). While increased consumer shopping and spending is great, making sure shoppers are happy is also important—otherwise retailers risk losing them and their business.
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