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Posted Date: 6/17/2013

Store Wars: Brick & Mortar Beat Out Online

With the growing competition from Amazon.com across all sectors in which it competes, brands like Target, Best Buy, Walmart and others are looking to understand how to better compete against this ubiquitous retailer.

Results from the 2013 Harris Poll EquiTrend Study, which assesses more than 1,500 brands across more than 155 categories, show that many retailers have a way to go. Specifically, for most brands measured, the local store outperforms its online counterpart. Retail brands with the largest gap between brand equity scores for their brick and mortar and their corresponding online brands include Target, Office Depot, Walgreens and Best Buy.

"There are many reasons why a consumer would choose to visit a location-based retailer over their online counterpart, including convenience, selection and immediate needs," says Lisa Mulyk, vice president at Harris Interactive. "Most of all, shoppers tend to want to interact with the physical merchandise prior to purchasing it, and the 2013 EquiTrend data shows us that while consumers are shopping online, their brand experience when doing so tends to be lower than their in-store experience."

Here is a recap of the study’s most interesting findings:
Mass Merchandizer of the Year: For the third year in a row, Target stores are top ranked and, for 2013, earn the Mass Merchandiser Brand of the Year award. Target has been at the top of its category since pulling ahead of Walmart back in 2007.

"While both Target and Walmart are frequently shopped, Target has a strong position in Consumer Connection, which is comprised of four key predictive metrics: Emotion, Fit, Trust and Performance," explains Mulyk. "And, while Target has a strong score in the forward looking Brand Momentum metric, Walmart also performs well — showing that Target needs to keep their eye on their competition going forward."

While Walmart follows behind Target among the brick and mortar mass merchandisers, it nevertheless outperforms the category average; what’s more, Walmart.com beats out Target.com in the newly minted online retail category to become the 2013 Online Mass Merchandiser Brand of the Year.

Department Store Brand of the Year: In the second year of this award category, Kohl’s once again earns the Department Store Brand of the Year title, with strong Quality and Purchase Consideration scores. Macy’s moves into the second spot for the first time, with its study-high Brand equity score driven by category-high Quality ratings and Purchase Consideration scores that continue to rise. After a significant decline in 2012, JCPenney’s score remains flat year over year. Mirroring the story among brick and mortar department stores, Kohl’s is the top ranked Online Department Store; Macy’s and JCPenney round out the brands above the category average.

Top Ranked in Two Categories: One of the few retail brands to be top ranked in both its respective brick and mortar and online categories is Staples. Both Staples and Staples.com take the top ranking in their office supply categories and are Brands of the Year. Office Depot also finishes above the category average among brick and mortar office supply retailers.

Value Retailer of the Year: In the ever-competitive value retailer category, Dollar Tree rises above the competition as the 2013 Value Store retailer Brand of the Year. Consumers give Dollar Tree category-high Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration scores that together help earn it the top ranking. With year-over-year equity gains driven by stronger Quality and Purchase Consideration scores, Dollar General also performs above the category average.

Warehouse Club Brand of the Year: Costco receives their all-time highest brand equity score, to become the Warehouse Club Brand of the Year. For 2013, EquiTrend measured four Costco brands – Costco Warehouse Club, Costco.com, Costco Gasoline and Costco Pharmacy. Costco Warehouse Club and Costco.com, followed closely by Costco Gasoline, receive the strongest brand equity scores among the four brands. Sam’s Club ranks behind Costco but above the warehouse club category average, while enjoying their second highest brand equity score since 2005.

Repeat Brand of the Year: For the second year in a row, Amazon.com’s subsidiary, Woot.com, earns the Online Deal Brand of the Year distinction. While Woot.com is the least known online deal brand tested, strong and growing Consideration scores drive this brand to the top its category. Other brands to outperform the category average include CouponMom.com, Living Social, RetailMeNot.com, Coupons.com, CouponCabin.com and Groupon.

For more on the findings of this study, click here.

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