Large Retailers, Seasoned Specialty Players Power 2012 Winners

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Nordstrom was one of the top ranked retailers in e-tailing group’s latest Customer Experience Index reviews.

Chicago—Who made the 15th annual Mystery Shopping Study, the e-tailing group’s Customer Experience Index of the best customer service fourth quarter 2012?

According to Lauren Freeman, president of the e-tailing group, “Execution is core to delivering strong shopping experiences for today’s time-starved consumer. That means inspiring and intelligent merchandising must be aligned with accessible service, streamlined purchasing, prompt delivery and a personalized shopping experience.”

Overall results for 2012 came in at 69.30 out of 100, falling just short of the 71.30 seen in the 2011’s benchmarking.

This year’s list of retailers who scored 80 out 100 points have met the challenge where the 9 winners range from the large retailers to several specialty merchants, long known for retailing excellence. Williams-Sonoma, Amazon, Toys ‘R Us and Barnes & Noble are to be congratulated their impressive back-to-back wins, Freedman said.

By ranking winners include:

Williams-Sonoma    83.50

Nordstrom                   82.50

Amazon                         81.50

Toys R Us                     81.50

Office Depot               81.25

Orvis                              81.00

REI                               81.00

Staples                        80.75

Barnes & Noble      80.25

The e-tailing group index is calculated through quantitative analysis of metrics extrapolated from their mystery shopping study conducted annually in the fourth quarter with an objective of uniquely understanding how merchants stack-up against the e-tailing 100 websites, direct competitors and their categories. Websites are scored on a 100-point scale based on an assessment of metrics from five key pages, presence and execution of vital merchandising tactics and exemplary customer service.

While proficiency on the home, category, product and help/customer service pages plus the shopping cart accounts for one-fifth of the score, more than 40% of the possible points are based on the presence and execution of merchandising features from the traditional through onsite search, promotions, gifting, mobile and social. Exemplary customer service functionality accounts for the balance of scoring with a focus on self-service information, the shopping cart, number of days to receive ordered products, order confirmations, live chat as well as the quality and response time for email/call center queries.

2_13_2013_categorystackupCategory Performance

Category performance indicates that there is still work to be done for many retailers, particularly in the survival of the fittest world of retailing today. Office Supplies tops winner’s table as the only category to exceed 80 points followed by last year’s top category performer Mass Merchants (76.03), despite seeing a 7% decline. Other categories that also saw significant swings include Baby/Toys/Games (8%), Food & Gifting (7%), Accessories and Shoes (7%) and Home/Garden at 6%.

“The e-tailing group Customer Experience Index provides an affordable overview that can help merchants prioritize which features and functions need attention first as they plan profitable 2013 initiatives,” states Freedman.

About e-tailing group

The e-tailing group, inc. serves as the multi-channel merchant’s eye, bringing a merchant’s sensibility to evolving the multi-channel shopping experience. A Chicago-based consultancy, they provide practical strategic perspectives and actionable merchandising solutions to merchants selling online as well as to enabling technology firms. For more background about this research study, including a list of merchants surveyed or for additional information on the e-tailing group, visit



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