The top five retailers are, in a measure of shopper loyalty by customer insights company ForeSee in order, Costco (with a "net promoter score" of 42), Tractor Supply Co. (40), Kohl’s (36), Amazon (35) and Lowe’s (34), according to the firm's latest report of customer experience at 50 of the country's top retailers.
Specialty and membership-based retailers did particularly well in the firm’s rankings because their emphasis is already premised on "building a memorable and personalized customer experience," according to a press release.
The report, ForeSee’s third, is based on survey data from more than 40,000 shoppers across their store, web and mobile experiences, assessing how likely they are to recommend a given retailer. The firm said it provides the scores and rankings of top global, non-grocery retailers by revenue.
Once in a while, Amazon's dearth of stores hurts, and that's pretty much inevitable in an in-depth study of customer experience that includes brick-and-mortar. It's worth noting that Amazon landed in the top five overall in ForeSee's results, even without many physical locations.
Still, ForeSee's ongoing work demonstrates the strength of stores at a time when much is being made of the incursion of e-commerce into retail. Costco, which took the top spot in this latest ranking, continues to hold its own in a tough retail environment, posting healthy sales and profits in the second quarter, along with gains in memberships and renewal rates. Previous concerns that Amazon's rising Prime membership would curtail the retailer's momentum have lessened in recent months, as research shows that plenty of consumers are willing to pony up for both.
And Tractor Supply, an 80-year-old retailer that began as a tractor parts catalog but now claims to be the largest retailer of rural lifestyle products, continues to place prominently in ForeSee's research, as it did last year for a study focused on customers' online experience.
Founded in North Dakota, but now headquartered in Nashville, the retailer is one of a host of what retail analyst Nick Egelanian, president of SiteWorks International, calls "invisible brick and mortar retailers that are an not only healthy and growing, but essential to the U.S. retail supply chain."
Egelanian believes the company, which earlier this month opened its 1,700th store, to be one of the more interesting retail concepts in America. "While its name implies that it is a tractor parts retailer, it actually is a far more diversified company selling pet and livestock products, hardware, lawn and garden products and clothing along with toys and gifts," he told Retail Dive in an email. Agricultural products, in fact, represent just 5% of its sales, according to Egelanian.