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The ninth annual survey of consumers’ favorite online retailers revealed few differences from the rankings in previous years. The big names are still big, and of the entire list of 50 retailers, only 6 were new. Yet even as things stay largely the same, some small changes suggest trends that might be of interest.

mhhe010479For example, Amazon and Walmart have nearly always been in the first and second positions, and that hasn’t changed. But Amazon also increased its share slightly, and much of that increase came at the expense of Walmart. So even as it remains in top place, Amazon is still competing actively, seeking to grow further, such as with its Prime Day promotion and its offer of same-day shipping.

Best Buy improved its share too, and it moved up slightly in the list to the third spot. Here again, the slight changes might signal something bigger, especially for this retailer. Many commentators predicted its downfall, following the pattern set by competitors like Circuit City and RadioShack. Instead, Best Buy has devoted powerful efforts to improving customer service, to help customers make their purchases more easily and quickly. It also enhanced its price matching guarantee, seeking to give customers more confidence in their purchases.

This sort of confidence seems to be a prominent goal for consumers. Many of the retailers on the top 50 list are widely recognizable names, which seems to indicate that online shoppers prefer to purchase from retailers that they know and trust already. Even Millennials, who are more comfortable in various online settings, rank Amazon tops on their list—though they also helped some specialty retailers like Forever 21 and Old Navy make strides up the ranking.

One of the biggest jumps came from Nordstrom, which moved up five spots to twelfth place. The reason, according to one observer, was likely its active efforts to expand its appeal with a greater presence for Nordstrom Rack and continuing to offer its renowned customer service to online shoppers as well.

Discussion Question:

  1. Which retailers are rated at the top by consumers, and why?

Source: Sandy Smith, Stores, September 2015