Nordstrom, Target and Home Depot topped a list of the most connected retailers, and they will continue to succeed after the pandemic, according to a report from CI&T.
The survey assessed retailers on overall experience, search, shop, cart, buy, fulfillment and returns.
Of the 530 shoppers surveyed, 85% of respondents thought good customer service mattered when choosing a retailer, and 87% said it was "getting a good price." Having a quality product is also the third most mentioned shopping aspect that makes customers want to return.
The findings suggest that retail's biggest players will only move further ahead of their competitors during turning points in the industry.
Connected retailers, especially those on the list, have a history of innovation in making shopping more convenient for consumers while also maximizing revenue. The report defines connected retail as having the same item available on different platforms at all times.
"Prior to the pandemic, consumers struggled to understand the value in merging online and offline retail channels," said Melissa Minkow, retail industry lead at CI&T. "With the vast majority of shoppers reporting their engagement in hybrid purchase behaviors over the last three months, it's become clear that the retailers with the most connected retail experiences won 2020 and are the most future-ready."
Retailers have invested more in in-store and online improvements to meet consumer demand and create a more consistent ecosystem throughout the pandemic. Last year, omnichannel shopping grew by 50% and consumers who shopped heavily or exclusively online grew by 133%, according to data published by Nielsen.
The bottom three retailers on the list — PetSmart, Bass Pro Shops and REI — excelled in certain areas. And although Nordstrom, Target and Home Depot scored the highest, the report said they still have room for improvement.
Walmart, which ranked fifth on the list, has further cemented its spot in the e-commerce space this year. The big-box player doubled its online sales in Q2 thanks to the pandemic pushing shoppers online. Success in e-commerce has been vital in a year that has caused many in the retail industry to declare bankruptcy.
"If the brands on the lower scoring end of the list don't upgrade their connected retail ecosystems, they'll risk falling severely behind," said Minkow