High pay linked to positive brand perception
Survey lists strongest brands by customer ratings
Brands that pay their floor staff relatively high wages tend to be better perceived by customers for their shopping experience.
That is one of the findings in a new survey of the major US brands conducted by customer experience company Nunwood, which rated Disney Parks (which has relatively well-paid employees) at the top for positive customer perceptions of the brand. Apple Stores (which has been criticized over employee pay levels) fell sharply in the rankings.
The survey found that those retail companies that customers rated as providing the 100 best shopping experiences grew, on average, by 9% more than a control sample of brands that did not make the top ranks. The same brands paid their shop floor staff 28% more on average than the control sample.
These include brands like Publix (5th best consumer brand, boasting 11% growth and paying 13% above US retail average), Shoprite (13th place, 8.5% growth, 11.3% above average pay) and Whole Foods (31st place, 32.5% growth, 22% above average pay).
The Top 20 US brands
Craig Ryder, head of retail at Nunwood, commented: “Retailers who have moved on from the idea of employees as minimum wage automatons often achieve the best overall growth. Their people benefit, their customers feel better and their shareholders profit.
“These brands have realised that, in order to grow in this difficult environment, you have to make a human connection between the associate and the customer. It’s much harder to do that with minimum wage staff who are treated as little more than worker bees. You need engaged, motivated staff willing and able to go the extra mile for the customer.”
He added it is a fact of life for bricks and mortar retailers now that, for most shoppers, a better selection and a better price is usually available online.
“The retailers that are succeeding clearly recognize this and are investing in creating the kind of experiences that you can’t get online – human ones,” said Ryder.
This trend was recently evidenced by Apple Stores, who, since last year, have dropped 27 places from 10th to 37th place. Earlier in the year they were criticised for failing to meet industry pay levels, responding with a snap 25% pay increase for many employees.
The figure stated as the US average retail salary is taken from a sample of 82 retail brands and formulated as above coming to US$9.03 per hour.
Dispey Parks was rated highly in the survey, with its staff trained to be”assertively friendly”. Cast members are encouraged to actively seek out contact with guests. Every employee knows, studies and understands the behaviors, mannerisms and values that are specific to their job function. They are also trained to answer every common question whether it is relevant to their role or not.
Comments from customers – or as Disney calls them “guests” – included: “Every person we interacted with loved their job and did it wonderfully.”
“We have a child with severe allergies Disney staff went out of their way to ensure my daughter’s safety without making her feel left out.”
“Every dollar I spend there is worth it.”
Top 100 US brands: The full list