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Consumers rate retail experience.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Consumer satisfaction with the retail experience declined slightly this year, according to a survey from CFI Group Worldwide LLC.

The company says its Retail Satisfaction Barometer (RSB) for 2015 is at 79, down from last year's 80 on a scale of zero to 100, with 100 as the highest possible score.

CFI Group says it measures consumer satisfaction using the methodology of its parent, American Consumer Satisfaction Index LLC, which in April released its own measure of shoppers' overall satisfaction with the retail industry. The most recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) measured a decline in shoppers' overall satisfaction with the retail industry for the first time in four years in 2014, with satisfaction falling in every category except Internet retail.

Customer satisfaction is a key goal for many retailers, on the assumption that a satisfied customer is a loyal one.

This year's drop in the RSB was fueled by declines across major drivers of satisfaction, CFI Group says. Satisfaction with store associates is down one point to 79, satisfaction with merchandise fell two points to 83, and satisfaction with price slipped two points to 80. Consumers' intentions to increase spending in 2015 fell to 70 from 72, CFI Group says.

For the RSB, CFI Group segregates data into five market segments: department stores, large-format discount stores, mall-based specialty stores, freestanding specialty stores and supermarkets. Consumer satisfaction increased for just one market segment--large-format discount stores, which scored a 79 this year after last year's 75.

Grocery stores had the highest overall satisfaction rating, at 81, but that score represents a two-point decline from 2014.

"In 2015, the RSB was expanded to include new insights aimed at customer-facing technology," CFI Group said. "Whether they were initiated for labor cost savings or to enhance customer experience, customers are embracing technology. Sixty-one percent of respondents used some type of technology-based solution at a retailer, be it self-checkout registers, in-store kiosks or checkout via a roaming store associate."

CFI Group uses analytics to provide its clients with customer feedback insights. The company was founded in 1988.

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Title Annotation:OPINION
Date:May 25, 2015
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