America’s favorite home retailers are…

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America’s favorite home retailers are…

By Marianne Wilson - 08/17/2018
A Swedish giant took one of the top spots in an annual survey of consumers’ favorite home furnishings retailers while a specialty hardware store beat out its bigger box competitors in the home improvement category.

Ikea ranks first among consumers when it comes to home furnishings, and Ace Hardware is their favorite home improvement chain, according to a study by customer experience management firm Market Force.

Ikea, which has maintained steady growth in the face of mounting e-commerce competition, earned an overall score of 75% on the study’s composite loyalty index, outdistancing Home Goods, which ranked second with a score of 63%. Target and Bed Bath & Beyond tied for third with 61%, and Walmart trailed with 43%.

For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their last experience at a home improvement or furnishings store, and their likelihood to recommend it to others. (Only brands with 100 or more reviews were included in the rankings.) The data was averaged to rate each brand on an aggregation of the two measures — a composite loyalty index.

In addition, Market Force looked at the most important customer attributes that set the industry leaders apart from the pack, including merchandise variety, store layout, value and customer service.

Ikea ranked first for merchandise variety and availability, as well as value and store cleanliness. Target was found to have the best store layout and received the highest marks for ease of finding merchandise in its stores. Bed Bath & Beyond performed consistently well, earning a top-three ranking in all of the categories.

On the flip side, Walmart ranked last for store cleanliness and merchandise variety, and tied for last alongside Target for value.

Ikea outperformed the other home retailers in customer service. Consumers find its associates to be the friendliest and have the most product knowledge. It’s also easier to find an associate at Ikea than other chains. Bed Bath & Beyond ranked second across the board, while HomeGoods ranked lowest for friendliness, overall service and ease of finding an associate.

HOME IMPROVEMENT: Ace Hardware, known for its neighborly service and an intense focus on the customer experience, earned the top spot as favorite home improvement retailer, with a composite score of 68%. Menards ranked second with 57%, Lowe’s was third with 54% and Home Depot was fourth with 53%. Walmart was fifth, with a score of 36%.

In the customer attributes ranking, Ace Hardware dominated, ranking No. 1 in all categories, with particularly strong marks for store cleanliness, checkout speed and store layout.

Menards tied with Ace Hardware for first place for merchandise variety, and took second place for value, merchandise availability and store cleanliness. Walmart landed at the bottom in every category except value, an area that saw Home Depot rank last.

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