Press Release


Report highlights how five top retail brands drive stronger customer loyalty that strengthens the bottom line, and prepares better results moving forward

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif – June 23, 2021 – UserTesting, a leading provider of on-demand human insights, today issued its inaugural Empathy Experience Index (EXi) Report. The report outlines best practices among multichannel retail organizations, and why empathy is critical for building customer loyalty and strengthening the bottom line. Strategies are examined as used by the top five multichannel retail brands to drive empathy-driven experiences. They showcase that opportunity exists for retailers to grow, strengthen and nourish customer loyalty, following a period of great impact upon customer loyalty in the retail space.

The report looked at 15 multichannel retail brands, and of those, the top five brands were Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, The Kroger Company, Kohl’s Corporation, and Nordstrom Inc. These retailers have placed emphasis on three key focus areas that drive customer empathy and loyalty:

Digital touchpoints need to be humanized

Once the pandemic set in, retailers had to make their digital channels exceptional to stay relevant with customers. Human-to-human interactions in non-digital touchpoints enable organizations to gain better insight into the emotional experiences of customers and build experiences that work in the digital realm. The top five brands in the EXi Report have been successful at creating empathy-driven experiences across both digital and non-digital channels, which lead to higher levels of loyalty. 

Look to existing customers for faster ROI

Companies that create empathy-driven experiences across multiple touchpoints boost loyalty from their customers. These brands had significantly higher scores than their competitors. The leading companies gained 27 percent more spending from existing customers than the bottom two-thirds of companies ranked. Additionally, leading brands can anticipate 29 percent more spend in the future from existing customers as well. The report considered three types of loyalty–advocacy, retention and enrichment–and the report found that retention loyalty and advocacy loyalty had the most impact on driving ROI. 

Customer empathy spans business units

Customer empathy needs to be present throughout the entire customer journey, from start to finish with customers expecting a seamless empathy-driven experience every time. As such, all employees realize how their efforts benefit the customers. This business philosophy builds collaboration and an organization focused on delivering the best possible customer experiences. Leading brands will need to move beyond multichannel or omnichannel strategies and focus on their experience strategy.

“The impacts of the last year were a wake-up call for retailers, making it clear that they need to focus on customers first. Stronger business growth will come to those organizations that employ customer empathy, from the top down, to ensure customers feel more value than just the immediate sale,” said Janelle Estes, Chief Insights Officer at UserTesting. “The leading companies in the EXi Report deliver great experiences through deep customer understanding and empathy. For those retailers not certain which way to turn, pay attention to how these top five companies in the report achieved their goals. This will help you move forward.” 

To access the inaugural UserTesting Empathy Experience Index, click here.

Methodology and survey results

The UserTesting EXi Report (EXi), a proprietary methodology, launched a multichannel retail EXi survey to 4,500 individuals across 15 multichannel retail brands. Each brand had a sample size of N=300. The survey was conducted between March 10th and 19th, 2021. The data was balanced to represent the United States General Population based on age and gender.

Media Contact

UserTesting, Inc.
Andy Dear 

About UserTesting

UserTesting is fundamentally changing the way digital products and experiences are built and delivered by helping organizations get insights from customers–from concept to execution. Built on top of a world-class, on-demand sourcing