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Walmart Tops In Customer Retention: Study

Charleston, S.C. – Walmart had the highest level of customer retention over the holidays while Barnes & Noble had the worst, a new retail survey shows.

According to a poll of 1,000 shoppers conducted Dec. 22-23 by America’s Research Group (ARG), Walmart retained 93 percent of its customer base while Barnes & Noble lost nearly 48 percent of its customers.

Of the 25 retailers included in the study, only one other merchant besides Walmart — sister chain Sam’s Club — retained at least 80 percent of its customer base, the market research firm said.

According to ARG chairman/CEO Britt Beemer, “A well-marketed, well-merchandised retailer needs to retain 80 percent or more of its customer base … If you’re losing one-third or more of your customers, you’ve got serious problems.”

Joining Barnes & Noble’s list of most customer defections were BJ’s, The Gap, Lowe’s and Costco, with customer retention levels of 49.5 percent, 53.1 percent, 53.9 percent and 56.2 percent, respectively. placed midway by retaining 75.9 percent of its customer base. The finding contrasts with a separate study by ForeSee that ranked the e-tailer tops among all e-commerce sites for the eighth consecutive year in customer satisfaction.

Beemer said the five top-scoring retailers encompassed the discount, warehouse club, closeout, online and dollar store channels, underscoring the frugality of the U.S. consumer.

“They wanted deals and this is what happens when everyone wants a deal — record numbers of retailers were unable to keep up and they lost large numbers of customers,” he said.

ARG is projecting an increase in total holiday sales of between 1.8 percent and to 2.8 percent this year.