Consumer Reports Evaluates the Best Places to Shop
Consumer Reports just published their survey of the best places to shop and I, for one, am all ears. I frequently consult Consumer Reports before I shop to find the best quality deals, plus the best price. Remember shoppers, you can check Consumer Reports online. Look for quality for price, not just sale price. Cheap is sometimes just cheap and has no value! You want value for your money. Service is another thing that is good to find, but becoming increasingly rare. Very few stores offer help via sales personnel anymore. I wrote earlier this year that I liked shopping at Armani AIX because the sales people were so helpful. It’s rare to find any help now at “budget retailers.”
So here’s what Consumer Reports found, and I agree with the findings. Costco earned high marks from consumers, but consumers also found good deals at JC Penney, Meijer, Sears and Dillard’s. In a nutshell, bigger isn’t always better when evaluating the overall shopping experience.
- Highly rated: Costco, Dillard’s, Macy’s and Sears. Four chains earned outstanding scores for merchandise quality: Costco (watches and jewelry, personal-care items, hardware, home décor, kitchenware, electronic entertainment such as music and DVDs, and sporting goods and toys), Dillard’s (men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; personal-care items; home décor; and kitchenware), Macy’s (home décor and personal-care items), and Sears (hardware).
- Target’s “cheap chic” goods didn’t wow everyone. Despite its high-profile partnerships with fashionistas Cynthia Vincent, Eugenia Kim, and Zac Posen, survey respondents judged the quality of Target’s women’s clothing and watches and jewelry below average, and the store’s kitchenware, home décor, and men’s and children’s apparel average. ( my note: I have said this in numerous blog posts and reviews here.)
- Look for service at Dillard’s. When it came to service, Dillard’s stood out from the pack. According to Jack Abelson, president of Jack Abelson & Associates, a retail-consulting firm in Leawood, Kan., service is deteriorating industry-wide because of retailers’ fixation on low prices. “The trouble today,” Abelson says, “is that the staff is not trained to be anything but glorified cashiers and security guards.” Shoppers at Kmart, Walmart, and Sam’s Club (Walmart’s warehouse club spin-off) were more likely than others to complain about the staff.
- In addition to a lack of sales help, the most prevalent problems were that desired items were out of stock and that checkouts were jammed. In fact, 29 percent of shoppers we surveyed complained about long lines. The problems were much worse than average at Kmart, Walmart, and Meijer, a Midwestern chain of superstores.
To learn more about the Consumer Reports survey of over 30,000 plus shoppers, check the survey findings here.