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Analysis Shows Retailers’ Reputations Built On Satisfaction

CLEVELAND – July 24, 2012 – A new analysis of the reputations of leading retailers shows that Target is tops for reputation but Wal-Mart wins for overall satisfaction.

Using compiled published data, the Dix & Eaton analysis identified eight critical value drivers and ranked the top 10 U.S. general merchandising retailers, based on revenue and sales data from 2010 to 2012.  It indicates that while there is a cluster of retailers that rise to the top, no single merchandiser is “top” for every one of the significant drivers.  The top five drivers in terms of their impact on reputation are overall satisfaction, quality of goods and services, price/value, trust and problem resolution.  Others studied were sustainability efforts, convenience and variety.

“Overall satisfaction and the quality of goods and service certainly are greater components in terms of establishing a loyal customer base, and it is no surprise, particularly given the present economy that ‘price/value’ would be extremely critical to consumers,” said Pamela Cohen, Ph.D., the D&E behavioral economist who led the analysis.

“The trust component, which speaks to customers’ feelings regarding the reciprocal, sometimes unwritten agreement between the establishment and the consumer, is a sign of the times in that in it is the expectation and hope that a favored retailer can be counted upon to deliver goods and services, but also to be there for them in terms of returns, service-related issues, as well as carrying goods that they want and can also trust.”

Cohen added, “While problem resolution has long appeared in lists of top drivers for consumer satisfaction, again the need for enhanced service and trust in a remarkably competitive and yet depressed environment is another reason for it to be particularly critical for consumers right now.”

The latest analysis drew upon approximately 15 data sources, including satisfaction study ratings and rankings both online and in major publications and blogs, financial statistics and newspapers.  It then utilized the proprietary D&E Impact Index™, a proven methodology that combines behavioral economics and statistical modeling to provide a comprehensive, quantified analysis of intangible assets and then links those assets to desired outcomes for an organization or industry.

The retailers in the analysis and their rankings in selected categories are as follows:

Overall Ranking

  1. Target
  2. Wal-Mart Stores
  3. Nordstrom
  4. J.C. Penney
  5. Macy’s
  6. Kohl’s
  7. Dillard’s
  8. Sears Holdings
  9. Family Dollar Stores
  10. Dollar General
     

Overall Satisfaction

  1. Wal-Mart Stores
  2.  Target
  3. Nordstrom
  4. Macy’s
  5. Kohl’s
  6. J.C. Penney
  7. Sears Holdings
  8. Dillard’s
  9. Family Dollar Stores
  10. Dollar General

 

Quality of Goods and Services

  1. Nordstrom
  2. Target
  3. Dillard’s
  4. Wal-Mart Stores
  5. Macy’s
  6. J.C. Penney
  7. Kohl’s
  8. Sears Holdings
  9. Dollar General
  10. Family Dollar Stores


Price/Value

  1. Wal-Mart Stores
  2. Target
  3. Sears Holdings
  4. J.C. Penney
  5. Macy’s
  6. Nordstrom
  7. Kohl’s
  8. Dillard’s
  9. Family Dollar Stores
  10. Dollar General

 

Trust

  1. Target
  2. Nordstrom
  3. Wal-Mart Stores
  4. J.C. Penney
  5. Sears Holdings
  6. Kohl’s
  7. Dillard’s
  8. Macy’s
  9. Family Dollar Stores
  10. Dollar General

 

Problem Resolution

  1. Nordstrom
  2. Targe
  3. J.C. Penney
  4. Macy’s
  5.  Dillard’s
  6. Wal-Mart Stores
  7. Sears Holdings
  8. Kohl’s
  9. Family Dollar Stores
  10. Dollar General

The D&E Impact Index is customized for every organization, using readily available data from multiple sources, including social media.  Cohen has fine-tuned the methodology over the past 15 years, having first created it when she led the Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation’s intangible valuation group.  Her analysis has been featured in Forbes, Fortune, Business Week, CIO and CFO magazines, among others, and she has applied it on behalf of major companies in more than a dozen industries, helping them increase their value by optimizing the performance of their intangible assets. These important drivers include brand, leadership, sustainability, strategy execution, communications, alliances, human capital, innovation and technology adaptation, as well as other nonfinancial components that bring value to a company.

In addition to her role at Dix & Eaton, Cohen is on the Sustainability Certificate Program Board of the University of Chicago’s Graham School, working on the development of a certificate program in Leadership in Sustainability Management.  As part of that program she designed and teaches a course on environmental economics and behavioral finance, and works with the University’s Sustainability Office in developing a university-wide integrated sustainability system.  She is also a researcher for the Erikson Institute’s Graduate School of Education, applying her expertise to the arena of childhood development and optimal well-being outcomes.

Dix & Eaton is an integrated communications consultancy specializing in public relations, investor relations, crisis communications, customer communications and reputation valuation.  Working as partners, we bring deep experience, foresight and creativity to every relationship and help clients realize the full power of communication to drive results.  Founded in 1952, Dix & Eaton has twice been named the nation’s best midsized firm.  For more information, visit www.dix-eaton.com or contact pcohen@dix-eaton.com.