Shopper Satisfaction With Mobile Retail Stagnates, Puts Customer Loyalty At Risk

Multichannel retailers continue to win with shoppers, but a lackluster mobile experience could put that loyalty in jeopardy.

The ForeSee Experience Index (FXI): 2013 U.S. Retail Edition, is based on data gathered during 2013's holiday shopping season and features company-level and channel-specific customer satisfaction analysis for the top 100 U.S. retailers.

"The results of ForeSee's most comprehensive holiday report provide interesting insights into the holiday shopping experience," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. "The data shows that customer loyalty for retailers is on the decline, yet consumers are satisfied with the top retail brands and had the best experience with retailers who mastered the multichannel experience."

While Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) continues to reign supreme across multiple channels, several retailers have identified critical drivers for increased sales and made great strides to improve the multichannel customer experience, setting themselves up for success into 2014, according to Freed.

Amazon and L.L.Bean tied for the highest company-level satisfaction, scoring a 90 each on ForeSee's scale. While this is the first time ForeSee has studied company-level satisfaction during the holidays, the L.L.Bean website has scored an 80 or above in Web satisfaction eight out of the nine years measured, and Amazon has topped the Web satisfaction list every year.

The mobile category saw satisfaction stagnate this year. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) (80) was the only company to experience a significant increase of more than three points in mobile satisfaction, seeing a five-point improvement from 2012's score. Again, Amazon led the pack with a mobile satisfaction score of 87.

Web and mobile stagnation presents risks for retailers. In a fiercely competitive holiday retail environment where 12 percent of customers only considered one retailer when making a purchase, retailers cannot afford to let their web and mobile satisfaction stagnate. Retailers looking to gain an edge in customer loyalty must make improvements to the primary drivers of satisfaction to find ways to recover the web and mobile customer experience in 2014.

ForeSee found that 38 percent of retailers register functionality as the top priority affecting the mobile customer experience, above both merchandise (34 percent) and content (31 percent). While 55 percent of retailers record knowledge of the customer service representative as the top priority affecting the customer contact center experience.

There were some surprising laggards. Apple (NASDAQ: APPL), which prides itself on stellar Apple Store customer experiences, lost to the supermarket chain Publix Super Markets in Store satisfaction with a score of 86 – three points higher than Apple's score of 83. Priceline.com had the lowest company-level satisfaction (76), as well as one of the lowest web satisfaction (75) and mobile satisfaction (73) scores.

Shoppers view their experience with a company as an experience with a company, not as an experience with an individual channel. While most retailers still operate in silos, those that have developed a cohesive multichannel strategy to encourage shoppers to engage across channels have a prime opportunity in 2014 for future success. According to ForeSee, shopper satisfaction during 2013's holiday season is predictive of 2014 business success for retailers. When comparing the future behaviors of highly satisfied customers (with satisfaction scores of 80 or higher) to less satisfied customers (with satisfaction scores of 69 or less), ForeSee found that highly satisfied customers this holiday shopping season report being:

•    71 percent more likely to prefer the company to others

•    57 percent more likely to retain loyalty to the company

•    72 percent more likely to purchase additional products or services from the company

•    64 percent more likely to purchase next time they are in the market to buy similar products or services

•    63 percent more likely to give a positive recommendation

•    60 percent more likely to trust the company

The FXI Retail report offers a comprehensive view of satisfaction at the company level and across every applicable sales channel including mobile.

For more see:
-This ForeSee press release

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