The Most Loved Retail Store of 2017 Will Surprise You (Hint: Kids Love It Too!)

Now that Amazon gives consumers an alternative to shopping in-store, retailers are taking drastic measures to win over customers. Reputation.com suggests some stores are doing a better job pleasing customers than others. The reputation management platform assessed 400,000 consumer reviews based on in-store shopping experiences in its 2017 Retail Reputation Report.

When one store fails with longer lines and higher prices, another store wins with knowledgeable staff and pristine amenities. The shoppers have spoken, and these 10 stores with the best customer reputation — a classic toy store wins the top spot (page 9) — followed by the stores with the worst reputation.

10. Aeropostale

YouTube Celebrity Bethany Mota attends a meet-and-greet at Aeropostale.

YouTube Celebrity Bethany Mota attends a meet-and-greet at Aeropostale. | Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for Aeropostale

  • 4.19 out of 5 stars

This teen retailer takes the 10th-best spot on Reputation.com’s list, despite its so-so scoring in employee competence, merchandise availability, and convenience. Aeropostale more than made up for those low scores with its higher marks in value and cleanliness. It’s clearly a go-to spot for parents and young adults.

Next: Another youthful surprise

9. OshKosh B’Gosh

A little girl pulls a wagon wearing OshKosh B'Gosh clothing.

OshKosh B’Gosh has adapted to the times. | Instagram

  • 4.22 out of 5 stars

Baby and toy stores took four of the top 10 spots on the list of best retail stores. And concerning price and value, OshKosh B’Gosh was one of the top stores, proving that cost really does matter. This children’s store also ranked high (4.3) in cleanliness, a surprising but understandable factor when shopping — consumers don’t really want to buy products in a dirty store.

Next: Active wear is booming, whether you’re active or not.

8. Nike

Nike shoppers

Nike’s aesthetic draws shoppers to stores. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • 4.23 out of 5 stars

This iconic shoe and athletic apparel brand faces an uncertain future due to changing industry trends and a saturated athleisure market. However, Nike must be doing something right because it receives impressive scores for its overall value, store cleanliness, and employee competence. Its international markets are seeing major success (China sales rose 9%), giving them a buffer against Americans who prefer e-commerce.

Next: This preppy retailer serves its shoppers well.

7. Ralph Lauren

Ralph Lauren 5th Avenue store

The stores’ employees seem to know what they’re doing. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

  • 4.27 out of 5 stars

Consumers are pretty harsh when it comes to manager ratings. Ralph Lauren didn’t get the highest ratings in the group, but it did receive fewer complaints overall. Shoppers also value the store’s employee competence and overall customer experience. Ralph Lauren has suffered store closings in recent years, but its commitment to service seems to be what is saving the chain from going under completely.

Next: Popular children’s store that’s doing something right

6. Carter’s

Carter's children's clothing

They rate highly for product availability. | Carter’s via Facebook

  • 4.31 out of 5 stars

Carter’s is the first toy and baby store on this list to receive positive reviews from shoppers. It’s an impressive feat considering the highly demanding clientele typical of this market. It earned one of the highest ratings for product availability, shopping experience, and price and value — all factors that heavily influence its bottom line.

Next: High-end retailer that’s focusing on the customer

5. Nordstrom

nordstrom sign on a storefront

Staff and products are excellent. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • 4.32 out of 5 stars

Shoppers rank Nordstrom as the fourth most loved retailer in this group. Knowledgeable staff are more than ready to point a customer in the right direction, as well as offer additional product options. So, it’s only fitting that customer reviews highlighted employee competence, store cleanliness, and amenities as the retailer’s greatest advantages.

Next: Everyone should shop this next store

4. Lululemon Athletica

Lululemon athletica storefront

Short waits and knowledgeable staff win over customers. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • 4.38 out of 5 stars

Struggling retailers are racing to catch up with the trendy athleisure company Lululemon for years. They’ve built an incredibly loyal customer base that keeps returning to spend money. Inventory is updated frequently, giving shoppers a unique experience at every visit. Reviews also tout short wait lines and knowledgeable staff as Lululemon’s best customer perks.

Next: An athleisure company that even beats Lululemon.

3. Athleta (by Gap)

Derek Lam 10C Athleta launch party at Athleta's new Soho store

Customers are loving Athleta. | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

  • 4.39 out of 5 stars

Gap, Inc. is failing to resonate with shoppers, but buying Athleta in 2008 gave the retailer more leverage in the market. Athleta has no problem pinpointing its brand identity, rivaling Amazon by catering aggressively toward female athletes. Shoppers rate Athleta better than Lululemon in price and product availability, but customers really appreciate the chain’s unrivaled in-store service.

Next: This store may be the “happiest place on earth.”

2. Disney Store

Disney store front window

People just really love disney. | vesilvio/iStock editorial

  • 4.49 out of 5 stars

Few are surprised to learn Disney stores captured hearts of the American consumer with the second-best reputation rating. Attention to service, value, and competency enables Disney to remain immune to retail doom and score big-name deals with other large brands. Customers rarely leave a Disney store empty-handed according to Reputation.com. Disney also received top rankings for product availability and store convenience.

Next: This store provides the “building blocks” for kids to dream and play.

1. The LEGO Store

Children play with Lego blocks during the opening of the brand's first certified store

Customers are loving LEGO facilities and amenities. | Jay Directo/AFP/Getty Images

  • 4.53 out of 5 stars

LEGO Stores led the entire retail pack, ranking at the top with 4.53 stars overall. In fact, consumers awarded LEGO with over four stars in eight out of nine categories: value, service, wait times, cleanliness, convenience, product availability, staff competence, and parking, facilities and amenities (which received a perfect 5.0).

LEGO proves that customers will return to a store that puts shoppers first. Its hold in the retail market is so strong, struggling retailer J.C. Penney entered into a partnership to put the LEGO brand in 875 JCP locations. Will the top-rated toy brand save J.C. Penney from failure? We will see.

Next: Shoppers have a love-hate relationship with this popular store.

The worst retail stores of 2017

Shoppers aren’t quick to forgive long lines, high prices, and incompetent staff. They’re also likely to shop elsewhere if the store is unclean and product availability is limited. These seven stores received the worst consumer reviews and thus, lost profits due to customer loyalty this year.

7. Old Navy

old navy

They’re thriving, but customers aren’t happy. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • 3.92 out of 5 stars

Old Navy is thriving amidst countless retailers’ bankruptcy claims and store closings. Its prices are lower than Gap or Banana Republic and customers appreciate the discount more than any other factor. Still, shoppers carry a love/hate relationship with the outfitter. Old Navy fails its clientele in employee-based metrics. Shoppers ask to see a store manager here more than other retailers and shun the long wait lines typical of the store.

Next: This toy retailer is the opposite of The LEGO Store in many ways.

6. Toys R Us

Toys 'R' Us

Toys R Us has been struggling for a while. | Leon Neal/Getty Images

  • 3.91 out of 5 stars

A Toys R Us demise has been a long time coming. The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2017 and has announced the closing of another 100 stores following weak holiday sales. Reputation’s report confirms the struggles, noting the toy store could do much better with wait times and manager assistance. Scores for low prices and product availability are just average — two things that need major attention if Toys R Us has any hopes of lasting much longer.

Next: “More saving, more doing” isn’t winning back shoppers’ hearts.

5. Home Depot

Home Depot storefront

Home Depot had quite a few complaints. | Wikimedia Commons

  • 3.75 out of 5 stars

Customers hate that they need to make an extra effort to save money at Home Depot. And if they do find something they like, the wait time at the register is longer than necessary. Home Depot had one of the greatest shares of complaints about lengthy checkout lines according to the report. With an overall customer experience rating of 3.75, Home Depot has the fifth-worst retail reputation.

Next: Beauty store losing popularity

4. Sephora

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Actress Serayah McNeill shops during the grand opening of Sephora on November 20, 2015 in San Francisco, California.

It’s pretty pricey. | Kimberly White/Getty Images

  • 3.68 out of 5 stars

Shoppers praise the gift-buying experience at Sephora, but note that it comes at a steep price. The cosmetic store ranks lowest in the group for affordability. Add lengthy checkout lines, poor inventory management, and lack of good deals, and it’s easy to see why Sephora shoppers are aggravated.

Next: Another home improvement store isn’t doing any improving.

3. Lowe’s

The checkout lines are long and tedious. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • 3.65 out of 5 stars

Aggravated customers have no qualms about writing scathing reviews when wait times exceed expectations. Home Depot’s biggest competitor, Lowe’s, also earned fewer stars than acceptable for checkout lines. The home improvement retailer’s biggest downfall: Shoppers need to see a store managers a lot. They only awarded 1.8 stars of out 5 for managers who can resolve customer issues. But perhaps most damaging, Lowe’s has a mediocre reputation for bargains.

Next: Another beauty store fails its shoppers.

2. Ulta

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Retail Locatio

Ulta received critiques for service and value. | jetcityimage/ Getty Images

  • 3.65 out of 5 stars

Ulta shoppers seek a specialized experience. Unfortunately, the cosmetic boutique received countless dings for service from clients who have high expectations. Service, value, and product availability all scored a dismal 2.6 stars. Complaints regarding manager competence and long lines were also more frequent than desired, receiving a damaging 1.6 stars.

Next: A store with a serious issue, according to shoppers

1. Hugo Boss

eople walk past Hugo Boss store at Magnificent Mile

Store locations are hindering customers. | tupungato/ Getty Images

  • 3.63 out of 5 stars

Though it has the same overall rating as Ulta, Hugo Boss failed in one huge category: store locations. Customers don’t need additional obstacles preventing them from driving to a physical store, and the lack of available store locations is a major downfall for the high-end retailer. The chain also falls short for store cleanliness. But if you can manage to find a store and overlook clutter, consumers praised Hugo Boss employees with a perfect5.0 for competence.

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