America’s Most “Relevant” Retailer? Amazon

Boston—The crucial role that online retail plays is clearly evident in a new Retail Relevance Top 10 by Brodeur Partners: Amazon.com scored No. 1.

The study asked shoppers to rate 21 of the nation’s top retailers and select through an extensive battery of questions the “most” and “least” personally relevant retailer in four areas: practicality, values, sensory appeal and social appeal. The study involved more than 2,000 shoppers ages 18 to 65 conducted Nov. 13 to 20, 2011.

“These are four ingredients of relevance that you look for in everything, from a Google search to a product, candidate, cause, or place to shop,” said Andy Coville, ceo at Brodeur. “Amazon.com has clearly cracked the code when it comes to being relevant to American shoppers.”

 Retail Relevance Top 10

1. Amazon.com

2. Target

3. Walmart

4. Best Buy

5. Costco

6. Kohl’s

7. JCPenney

8. Macy’s

9. Walgreens

10. Apple

Shoppers gave Amazon.com the highest ranking for practical value, which is striking when one considers there’s no real-world storefront shoppers can visit, Coville said. The findings support ample evidence that retail’s strongest momentum is now in the online experience.

Amazon: Mainstreaming of Online Shopping

Amazon also had a commanding lead in areas of social and values-based relevance. “That is, when compared with all of the other retail experiences, shoppers said that the Amazon experience was the one most people wanted to share and that most reflects their personal values.”

Despite the edge that online gave to Amazon, brick and mortars also matters. Target came in second in the relevance ranking largely because shoppers found it the most appealing to the senses. “Clearly there’s something shoppers find exciting about Target, its store design, merchandise and messaging. That is reflected in its high sensory ranking,” said Jerry Johnson, Brodeur’s executive vice president of strategic planning.

Along with Amazon, shoppers selected No. 3 Walmart as the retailer that had the highest “practical relevance” among those tested. Practical relevance is the most important attribute a retailer can possess, yet it drops sharply in importance the younger the shopper.

“The case of Amazon.com highlights the incredible power of e-commerce in the retail world of today,” Johnson added. “It shows how technology can move a retailer from specialty online bookstore to one that people view as more practical and value-driven than Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.”

Of those majors that didn’t make the top 10, Sears placed a distant 14th, the study shows, mostly due to the beleaguered retailer’s low score in practical relevance, the measure shoppers identified as most important. Sears’ score was “far below” Home Depot, Lowe’s, JCPenney and Kohl’s. “Fashion retailer T.J. Maxx was considered to be more practically relevant than Sears,” the study stated.

About Brodeur Partner’s ‘Retail Relevance Top Ten’

The Brodeur Partners Retail Relevance 2012 Top Ten study builds upon relevance research Brodeur released a year ago which found that high relevance scores often correlate with superior growth and performance even when a company is dwarfed by industry giants. This year’s research uncovered a generational practicality divide in consumer shopping experiences.

Brodeur defines relevance as the full experience of an idea, product, brand, candidate or cause, one that not only changes minds, but also changes behavior. Although logic is part of it, relevance is equally a function of values, sensory experiences and community impulses. Brodeur helps clients improve their own relevance through quantitative and qualitative research on these relevance components, and through controlled trials of various communications approaches. www.brodeur.com

 

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