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Experience Evaluated

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Try to have a conversation about retail without mentioning the customer experience. It’s nearly impossible. Experts can draw a straight line from how consumers feel about shopping to how a retail company is performing.

Last month, Temkin Group released the findings of its third annual experience ratings, research which evaluates 246 companies across 19 industries. Sam’s Club and Amazon earned the top spots in the retail sector based on a survey of 10,000 U.S consumers. Overall, retail was a standout performer, tying for third out of 19 industries studied and it was one of four with an average rating of “good.”

The Temkin Experience Ratings evaluate three areas of customer experience: functional (can customers do what they want to do), accessible (how easy it is to work with the company) and emotional (how consumers feel about their interactions). Interestingly, three of the top 10 companies across all industries are retailers: Amazon and Sam’s Club (tied for No. 5 overall) and Ace Hardware (No. 7 overall). Amazon and Costco were top rated in the functional component; Ace Hardware is top rated in the accessible component, and Nordstrom was tops in the emotional component.

Office Depot and Barnes & Noble made the largest year-over-year leaps among retailers, rising 11 and 8 percentage points, respectively. The average rating for the retail industry increased from 71 percent in 2012 to 74 percent in 2013.