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Trader Joe’s tops in customer satisfaction

The grocer may have finished highest in customer satisfaction but results from the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index show retail is at its lowest in customer satisfaction ratings since 2015.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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In sectors like grocery, retail sales are booming, but one thing that’s taken a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, no matter the retail channel, is customer satisfaction.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index and its annual report, customer satisfaction is at its lowest point since 2015. The report observes retail channels such as department stores, specialty retailers, health and personal care stores, supermarketis, e-tailers and convenience/gas retailers, and not one escaped the trend of declining customer satisfaction, the report said. 

In all, the ACSI said retail scored a 75.5 out of 100, a 2.3% dip from last year.

From a specific retailer look, Trader Joe’s moved into the top spot as the highest-ranking grocer and overall retailer this year with a customer satisfaction score of 84. Last year, it tied with Wegman’s and H-E-B for the top score, but those other two fell to second place, tying with Costco and Publix. Aldi joined the above retailers in second place on the index but this year slipped 4%, tying Sam’s Club with an overall rating of 80. ACSI noted some other retailers showed big 4-5% declines from 2019 including Southeastern Grocers (down 4% to 73), Giant Eagle (down 5% to 72), Albertsons (down 5% to 71) and Walmat (down 3% to 71). The last two retailers finished last.

“2020 sent waves of disruption across the retail sector,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at the ACSI. “From mandatory closures that halted in-person shopping to stock shortages caused by panic buying, retailers experienced anything but business as usual. Deliveries from online retailers were delayed, and customers were frustrated when high-demand items sold out. And it shows, as 86% of the retailers measured suffer downturns in customer satisfaction year over year.”

Looking at the drug channel, CVS remained the highest-ranking chain with a score of 77. Hardware retailers saw big 4-5% declines with Menards topping the channel at 77, and Home Depot and Lowe’s tied at 75.

E-commerce has been driving sales during the pandemic but the sector fell nearly 4% overall. Last year, Amazon ws tops but fell 5% to an all-time low score of 79. Nordstrom took the new top spot for online at 81.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index has been published out of Ann Arbor, Mich., for 25 years, measuring customer satisfaction levels across 46 industries and 10 economic sectors. The latest full report can be accessed here.