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COI performance: omnichannel vs. etail

OpinionLab just released its latest Customer Opinion Index (COI) Report, which delves into customer experience and customer satisfaction trends across multiple industries through Q4 2013. Based on a sophisticated measurement model designed specifically for an omnichannel world, the COI is a key barometer of customer experience excellence online, in-store, and on mobile devices, and is a leading indicator of future customer behavior. COI calculations are based on millions of pieces of real-time, cross-channel Voice of Customer feedback collected by OpinionLab each and every quarter.

This is the first in a series of blog posts that will highlight industry-by-industry COI performance through the end of 2013. We’ll be kicking off the series with a look at the retail sector.

For the purposes of our COI reporting, OpinionLab breaks the retail sector down into two components: omnichannel retail and eTail. Both segments sell through the desktop and mobile web, so the crucial difference between them is the brick-and-mortar store experience.

Looking at the data, we see omnichannel retailers struggling throughout most of 2013. The COI for omnichannel retail fell from 540 in January to 414 at the close of the year, a drop of more than 20%. Although holiday retail sales were up 3.8%, retail analytics firm ShopperTrak noted a yearly decline of almost 15% in store foot traffic, as shopping patterns continued to evolve, pushing more and more pre-purchase information gathering and pricing research activities online. At the same time, security issues weighed on omnichannel retailers, as news of serious debit and credit card breaches hit the wire in the weeks before Christmas, causing major anxiety among last-minute holiday shoppers.

2013 was an equally challenging year for pure play eTailers. The COI for eTail plunge of 24% from 458 in January to 346 at year’s end. eTailers were hit particularly hard by customer backlash stemming from well-publicized delivery delays in the last shopping days before Christmas–backlash from which even Amazon was not immune.  Speaking of the Seattle-based titan, while Amazon continues to enjoy tremendous success, many other eTailers born in the late 1990s and early 2000s have seen growth rates plateau, as customers increasingly migrate toward eTailers that can offer more than just rock-bottom prices.

So, that’s the customer experience picture for retail coming out of 2013. Tune in next week for a discussion of customer experience trends in the financial services industry.


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