Wealthy Shoppers Say Appealing Stores and Smart Staff Set Luxury Retailers Above Mass Market Peers

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 26, 2013) - What is it about the experience of shopping at luxury retailers that's superior to mass market stores? Just about everything, but especially the people and the physical stores, according to U.S. shoppers earning at least $150,000 a year.

Wealthy respondents shared detailed opinions and evaluations of 23 luxury and mass market retailers in 2013 Luxury Consumer Experience Index (LCEI) surveys jointly conducted by the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute and Customer Culture Institute.

LCEI scores are averages of seven customer experience components that evaluate the politeness, trustworthiness, knowledge and enthusiasm of employees, as well as whether stores are appealing and well-maintained on a 1-10 scale. Experiential criteria showing the largest differentials between luxury and mainstream are store appeal (8.31 vs. 7.12), and having knowledgeable people (8.25 vs. 7.17).

Luxury retailers earned an average overall LCEI score of 8.18, versus 7.21 for mass market retailers. Two mainstream merchants are bucking the trend and exceed the average luxury group LCEI: Iowa-based Von Maur department stores (8.61) and Apple (8.40) with its Genius Bar staffed retail outlets. The two biggest LCEI standouts in the luxury group are Bergdorf Goodman (8.58) and Nordstrom (8.36).

Despite the broad outperformance by luxury, there is virtually no difference among 95% of respondents who say that they plan to shop again at both luxury and mainstream retailers.

"These results are instructive for both luxury and mainstream retailers," says Luxury Institute and Customer Culture Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. "Stores and people clearly form a line of demarcation."

About Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

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For Further Information, Please Contact:
The Luxury Institute, LLC
Martin Swanson
Vice President Business Development
(914) 909-6350