Up front, let’s establish that this is not a review of natural products stores, grocery outlets, etc. Most of the stores on here are clothing stores. It does, however, give us an insight into what satisfies customers when they are making purchases and who does it well.
In the top ten are: Overstock.com, Zappo’s, Amazon, QVC and HSN – none of which have a retail store! (That is half of the top ten!) Others on the list have both a brick and mortar and an on-line presence.
If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts or have attended any of the seminars or workshops that I conduct, you know that I huge fan of customer service, extraordinary customer service. You can imagine that I was initially taken aback to find that four of the top ten providers of customer service have no face to face interaction with their customers!
This does show us how e-commerce and shopping on the web has passed from being a fad for the techie’s to a mainstream force in retailing. Not only can people buy clothing and shoes on the web, there are more and more outlets offering groceries, supplements, body care, etc. that way. (And many natural products stores are among those doing a great business with an on-line store!)
I don’t think that either this survey or the trend that it points out are indications that stores need to lessen the human element of providing good service – but I do think that it does clearly show that we need to be sure that we combine what our staff provides with running our stores in a way that meets customer needs and expectations – products in stock, products at the right price, easy to understand communication, etc.