SOURCE: Experticity

January 22, 2014 08:00 ET

Experticity Names Winners of Helpful Expertise in Retail Award

Recognition Honors Retailers That Offer Consumers Helpful Expertise to Create Better Retail Buying Experiences

SALT LAKE CITY, UT--(Marketwired - Jan 22, 2014) - Experticity today announced the winners of the 2013 Helpful Expertise in Retail Award. Experticity's recent Retail Buying Experience survey not only shows that consumers are asking for product expertise in retail, but that retailers delivering on this experience are being rewarded by consumers. As retailers increasingly shift away from "low prices" as their primary focus, knowledgeable, experienced employees who can help consumers have a more rewarding buying experience are becoming retail's critical differentiator.

"Our company is committed to helping brands and retailers achieve the real benefits of offering consumers helpful product and category expertise. A buying experience centered on helpful expertise improves brand perception and fosters loyalty among both customers and employees," noted Tom Stockham, CEO of Experticity. "This award, which is driven from real consumer feedback, shows that some retailers are getting it right and providing quality shopping experiences as a result. I congratulate each of our category winners, as well as the highest scoring overall winners Sephora, Bass Pro, Cabela's, and REI."

Read more detailed blog post: The Results are in

The Retail Buying Experience survey was conducted by Experticity in September 2013, asking 600 consumers about the qualities they find most helpful in a retail associate. While helping them find the correct product was recognized as important, the single most valuable characteristic identified by survey respondents was a high level of product knowledge.

Experticity also asked the consumers a series of questions about their experiences with two dozen stores that represent five different market segments where consumers typically look for guidance: outdoor recreation, sporting goods, hunting or fishing, health and nutrition, and prestige beauty. Questions assessed the associates' attitude, general helpfulness, and knowledge of the store's products. Within each segment, those stores scoring highest in the areas deemed most valuable by consumers were selected as the winners of the award.

2013 Helpful Expertise in Retail Award Winners

  • Outdoor recreation: REI, Cabela's, EMS

  • Sporting goods: Dick's Sporting Goods, Academy Sports & Outdoor, Hibbett

  • Hunting or fishing: Bass Pro, Cabela's, Gander Mountain

  • Health and nutrition: Natural Grocers, Vitamin Shoppe, Trader Joe's

  • Prestige beauty: Sephora, Dillard's, Nordstrom. 

In addition to the category winners, four retailers received the highest aggregate scores: Sephora, Cabela's, REI, and Bass Pro. 

"At Sephora, we understand that clients still want helpful expertise from retail sales associates to guide buying decisions. In order to stay competitive and bring consumers back to our stores regularly, we pride ourselves on investing in the education of our sales associates across all facets of our specialty retail."
-Christie Jack, senior vice president of retail, Sephora

"Bass Pro Shops recognizes the importance of engaging dedicated professionals who promote the outdoor lifestyle and live it as well. Because we offer such a huge variety of outdoor gear, training is essential for continuing to provide the level of expert service our customers have come to expect. To meet customer needs for guidance in making buying decisions, we understand the importance of investing in sales associate knowledge. This not only benefits our customers, it raises job satisfaction for our associates as well."
-Jim Hagale, president of Bass Pro Shops

"Experticity provides retailers a valuable service by pointing out the importance of customer service, something on which Cabela's success is based. Cabela's high ranking in the survey and award finish in two separate market segments are indicative of the passion and dedication our Outfitters show in providing a legendary customer experience. Also, it shows us not to let up, to work harder, because retail customers, rightfully, have high expectations. That passion and dedication is in our nature."
-Craig Harrison, Cabela's VP of US Stores

Recommendations for Retailers
Based on the findings of the survey, Experticity recommends that retailers place special emphasis on hiring the right associates, giving preference to those who are fans of the category they focus on and the products they sell. They should also provide them with the right training to give them the most comprehensive product knowledge to ensure consistent, excellent customer service. They should also provide their associates with incentives for quality work such as discounted or free merchandise, to solidify their position as brand advocates and reinforce informed recommendations.

Resources

  • Report: 2013 Value of Expertise in Retail Survey Report
  • SlideShare: 2013 Value of Expertise in Retail Survey results results
  • Infographic: 2013 Value of Expertise in Retail Survey Survey
  • Blog: The Results Are In

Connect with Experticity

About Experticity
Experticity, Inc. is growing the world's largest community of influential experts to create rich buying experiences and drive retail sales through its expert knowledge platform, 3point5.com, and its expert incentive platform, ProMotive.com. Together the platforms bring together thousands of the most innovative, forward-thinking brands and retailers, and hundreds of thousands of trusted product experts to drive better sales and an improved customer buying experience. The company's on-demand and performance-based products enable brands and retailers to educate, deliver incentives and foster firsthand product experience to credible, category-specific experts as well as collect important insights and analyze their effectiveness. By fostering long-term, high-value relationships, manufacturers see better results, retailers improve performance, experts are rewarded for their knowledge and consumers have better buying experiences. Experticity currently works with over 560 brands, 52,000 retail locations and more than 1,200,000 influential experts. Learn more about the company at www.Experticity.com.