Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Toy Category

Posted by December 22, 2010 by myadminComments

In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at over 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. In the toys category our mystery shoppers visited Toys ‘R Us and the toy departments of Target and Walmart.

Toys ‘R Us came out on top, followed by Target and then Walmart. We buy gifts for everyone at the holidays, but who do most of us focus on? Kids if we have them. Toys are a ubiquitous holiday purchase. So why in the world did our secret shoppers find the toy category rating so low on service and sales? What’s wrong with this picture and better yet, what’s the opportunity we see in this?

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Sporting Goods Category

Posted by December 20, 2010 by myadminComments

In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. In the Sporting Goods category, The Sports Authority came out just ahead of Dick’s Sporting Goods. As has been true in so many of the results found by our mystery shopping experience this pre-holiday season, the stores were far better at service than sales. We’re seeing missed opportunity yet again. The economy has picked up some and retail sales are expected to be up by more than 2% this year. Why then, do the sporting goods store rate at about 30 out of 100 when it comes to suggesting items to buy to the customers in their stores? We see tremendous potential to increase revenue by teaching employees how to suggest other items and point out special offers and promotions. Whether sales are incentive-based or not, there are simple, polite and gracious ways to turn friendly employees into friendly sales people who drive profits to the retailer by helping customers get exactly what they want.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Specialty Category

Posted by December 17, 2010 by myadminComments

In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. The specialty category is where our Mystery Shoppers found the overall best retailer, most prepared for the holiday season: Yankee Candles is number one. They are followed in this order by: Bath and Body Works, Build-A-Bear and Sephora. Why does Yankee Candle stand out in their category? The ranked high on service and selling, our secret shopper’s results revealed this to be an all too rare combination. Gracious and friendly customer service is a critical part of the customer experience and it absolutely factors in to the overall impression and whether or not the customer will return to the store. When you can combine excellent and friendly service with selling skills that assist customers in buying the things they want or desire but may not be aware of – that’s when you hit the sweet spot of increasing profits. Most customers make buying decisions at the store. Using strategic selling techniques to help them make those buying decisions can result in millions of dollars more in profits, especially during the holiday season when so many more customers are visiting retail stores.

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Topics: Blog

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Office Supply Category

Posted by December 15, 2010 by myadminComments

Our recent survey of 54 brick-and-mortar stores included visits to 30 locations at each chain across the country. Over 1,600 store visits were conducted over the last two months and 10,000 data points collected.

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Topics: Mystery Shopping

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Off Price Category

Posted by December 13, 2010 by David RichComments

Off Price retailers are not expected to have an amazing service and selling experience...right? Their low prices and "great finds" speak for themselves. While this may be true, there still exists the opportunity to improve. In recent weeks, ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops measuring 9 categories at over 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts. In the off-price category, the top three retailers are Ross Stores, Burlington Coat Factory and TJ Maxx in that order. Data gathered by our secret shoppers reveal that this category really suffers in selling. While customer expectations for service might be a bit different in the off-price retailers, we were very surprised to see how low the selling scores were. If just one of these retailers were to invest in have well trained sales associates on the floor, they could not only increase revenues dramatically, but they could easily set themselves apart in their category, increasing traffic resulting in an even greater bottom line increase, as employees could sell more to customers when they visited their stores. Sales don’t need to be aggressive, but helping customers find other items and making suggestions appropriate to customer choices could differentiate the retailer and considering that even a few percentage points more in sales could translate into millions of dollars, this just might represent a huge opportunity for improvement.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Home Improvement Category

Posted by December 9, 2010 by David RichComments

ICC/DS Mystery Shoppers conducted 1621 mystery shops in recent weeks measuring across 9 categories at 50 plus retail chains in 30 locations across the country and gathering over 1600 data points. In the home improvement category, Home Depot came out just ahead of Lowe’s. Interestingly, both stores ranked extremely low on selling. Employees are very helpful and pointed our secret shoppers in the direction of what they were already looking for, but rarely did anyone suggest an item in the store that would be perfect with what the customer was buying or point out specials or promotions. When done in the right way – that is, not pushy or overbearing, customers perceive buying suggestions as helpful and the employees offering them as concerned and considerate. Is it possible that management has overlooked that point? In a season when purchasing is expected to be up several percentage points, our retail benchmark study indicates that more focus on getting customers to buy more when they are in the stores would punch up the sales percentage points and profits for the retailer – a missed opportunity that could be easily corrected.

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Topics: Customer Experience

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Electronics Category

Posted by December 8, 2010 by myadminComments

ICC/Decision Services conducted 1621 mystery shops in recent weeks measuring 9 categories at 50 retailers in 30 locations per retailer. That resulted in over 10,000 data points gathered by our Mystery Shopping and Secret Shopping efforts.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Department Stores

Posted by December 6, 2010 by myadminComments

Our recent survey of 54 brick-and-mortar stores included visits to 30 locations at each chain across the country. Over 1,600 store visits were conducted over the last two months and 10,000 data points collected. In the department store category, Nordstrom ranked first, followed by Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Sears and Kohls. Being first is great and it’s no secret that Nordstrom has a ‘number one reputation’. Surprisingly, our secret shoppers found that Nordstrom ranked 60 in the suggestion category. If you think in terms of grades in school, 60 out of 100 is more or less a failing mark. Expectations are that holiday sales will be up about 2.3% this year. What would happen if employees were actually selling customers who were in the stores? What would it look like if sales were up 10% instead of 2.3%? Most customers purchasing decisions are made in the stores. It makes sense then that retail management would be well served to put effort into sales training for the employees who interact with their most valuable asset: retail customers.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

Retail Benchmarks Holiday Season 2010 - Apparel Category

Posted by December 3, 2010 by myadminComments

Who will benefit most from what promises to be a better year for consumer holiday spending? We decided to find out. We conducted 1621 mystery shops in recent weeks measuring across 9 categories at 54 retailers in 30 locations per store.

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Topics: Customer Experience, Blog

New Study Reveals Missed Opportunities For Retailers

Posted by November 30, 2010 by David RichComments

New Retail Benchmark Study Reveals Opportunity To Increase Conversion This 2010 Holiday Season

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Topics: News