Wait, You Mean There Actually Are Retailers That Treat Customers Well?

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Which retailers get the customer experience right? Here are nine nominees.

In a recent session at a National Retail Federation convention, a pair of experts from the retail consulting firm McMillanDoolittle gave a presentation featuring retailers who get the customer experience right.

In true presentation-y, power-point-friendly form, each of the exemplary retailer’s highlighted strengths started with the letter C. For example:

Cast (the right team): The Container Store hires and develops brand zealots, who live the lifestyle and love the product. They invest heavily in training and hire, and coach their team to deliver to the highest of customer expectations.


Control (the right process): Giving customers the option to have their meal made to order, customized online and picked up in store is a key strength of Chipotle.

The other retailers getting it right are:

Whole Foods (for Clarity—the right positioning, with a brand that’s understood and valued by customers

Walgreens (for Convenience—because customers can find them everywhere)

Anthropologie and Crate&Barrel (for Choice—with customers who are please with the selection, quality, and presentation of merchandise)

Williams-Sonoma (for Communications—well-designed, easy-to-navigate stores)

J.Crew (for Consistency—the customer knows what to expect no matter what the product or how it’s sold)

Sephora (for Connection—reaching customers and spreading the message well via events, social media, and other technologies)

OK, some of these C words are a stretch. They had to keep the theme running, though.

More importantly, what do you think? There are those who would say that, for example, no matter how well-designed a Williams-Sonoma store is, the merchandise is way overpriced—and therefore the retailer doesn’t provide a good customer experience.

So do these retailers really get the customer experience right? Or are those retail consultants plain wrong?

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