Costco Receives Top Ratings, Walmart Places Last in Customer Survey

  • Costco ranks first in customer satisfaction among general merchandise retailers.
  • Walmart ranked last in the category, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranked second.
  • The annual survey polled nearly 36,000 customers and distilled the responses into a 100-point scale.

Customers are very happy with Costco, but Walmart is not getting the same love.

The Issaquah, Washington, wholesale club topped the American Customer Satisfaction Index ranking of general merchandise retailers with a score of 82, up one point from last year, when it also topped the list.

Meanwhile, the mega retailer from Bentonville, Arkansas, came in last place in the category with a score of 70, down one point from its last place last year. The survey ranks 19 leading brands. Small brands got a combined score of 77.

The annual survey polled nearly 36,000 customers last year distilling the results into a one-hundred-point scale for various retail categories. Neither Costco nor Walmart responded to requests seeking comment on the survey results. The study looked at several “benchmarks” of satisfaction, from convenient store hours to accurate pickup-order fulfillment, merchandise variety, and store layout and cleanliness.

Wholesale membership clubs fared better than other types of general retailers, with Walmart-owned Sam’s Club and BJ’s Wholesale Club coming in second and third behind Costco with 81 and 80 points, respectively.

In the supermarket category, Costco lost the top spot to Trader Joes, while Walmart still trailed the pack.

Across the general merchandise category, retailers made year-over-year improvements to their mobile apps and online ordering processes, while issues such as customer service , inventory availability, and checkout speed are getting worse.

Costco’s employee handbook states that superior customer service is the “most critical product,” going so far as to require that front-end workers “greet every member with a smile.”

Meanwhile, Walmart’s decision to increase its reliance on self-checkout technology has increasingly drawn the ire of shoppers frustrated by understaffing.

Do you shop at Costco or Walmart and want to share your thoughts on the survey? Talk to reporters Ben and Dominick via email.

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