Apple, PetSmart and Best Buy topped the list of U.S. retailers that offer value-added services in 2015.
It's no mystery that customer service is a priority for many retailers and shoppers. That is why BookingBug commissioned a mystery shopper to visit the top 20 U.S. retailers to see if brands were turning great customer experiences into a source of advantage—in other words, adding value to the customer experience.
What the study found is that while 15 out of 20 retailers offered in-store services, only three of those retailers have posted their offerings through an omnichannel marketing campaign and eight failed to advertise their services at all.
Also, the top performing stores include an entire department dedicated to service delivery. Those top performers include Apple, with its Genius Bar; PetSmart's grooming and veterinary clinic; and Best Buy's Geek Squad.
In addition, 14 out of the 20 stores visited offered no in-store assistance. Stores where employees approached the mystery shoppers to offer help included Home Depot, Nordstroms, Barnes and Noble, Apple and Best Buy.
"As a smaller retailer, how do you compete with Apple? Or Home Depot or Best Buy? The fact of the matter is, in most areas, it's very difficult. But that's not true in added value services. Just look at PetSmart," said Glenn Shoosmith, CEO of BookingBug. "This plucky retailer has pushed its way into the top five of our table with a near perfect score, beating competition with 10x its revenue. Customer experience and customer success are areas where your brand is rewarded not by throwing money at the problem but thinking carefully about how you make the most of your highest value customers and how you usher more customers toward that status."
The mystery shoppers scored the experiences across five key areas including attitude of the retailer toward offering in-store services; marketing of those services; accessibility of the services; staff expertise; and delivery of services.
The retailers who scored at the bottom of this survey include Rite Aid, for attitude to services; Kohl's for marketing of services; Gap for level of expertise offered; JCPenney, for attitude to services; and GameStop for delivery of services.
The customer experience is often enhanced by in-store technology. According to a recent study by Zebra Technologies, 52 percent of shoppers see value in retailers who use technology to improve the shopping experience. And 64 percent of shoppers also said they would be willing to purchase more items if they received better customer service.
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