Lush tops the rankings for in-store shopping experience

From Shopper Marketing Report: Leger finds that a sense of belonging has a big impact on consumer favourability.

Lush Store-1
Leger’s annual WOW study – which measures the customer experience at over 200 retailers – has found that Lush has the moved-loved in-store experience, while Lufa Farms is tops for online customer experience.


The 11th annual WOW study, done in partnership with the Retail Council of Canada, surveyed 13,000 Ontarians 15+ online about their in-store experience at 153 retailers across 20 different sectors from October to November. Retailers were assigned a score, the WOW Index, which ranges from 0 to 100 and is calculated based on 20 dimensions of the in-store customer experience such as product quality, price competitiveness, employee courtesy and store atmosphere.

The retailers with a score above 90 are included below, with Lush edging out natural wellness brand Saje and Purdys Chocolatier, scoring highly on its corporate values aligning with consumer personal beliefs.

A major new feature of the 2021 WOW study is the analysis of the drivers of a sense of belonging: a person has a sense of belonging when they identify with a store and embrace its values, mission, actions and the image it conveys. According to Leger, Saje is one of the brands that stands out in this regard, something that’s experienced rather than used.


Luc Dumont, VP at Leger, says the “sense of belonging” dimension, which has the largest impact on net promoter scores, in turn has an impact on how WOW Index scores are calculated. Emotional connections, Dumont feels, are becoming increasingly important.

The main drivers of belonging, Dumont says, are when consumers feel like “the store contributes positively to my quality of life,” which includes problem solving, stress relief and flexibility, in addition to aligning with values and beliefs with regard to things like packaging, the environment and being “relevant or useful in society.”

Zero-waste retailers, those with responsible packaging and those in the eco-friendly and organic universe, such as Lush and Yves Rocher, differentiate this way.

Transparency and honesty, and being treated like a human being, round out the top five factor that have the biggest impact


Meanwhile, having having happy, committed employees who are passionate about their work also contributes to creating a strong sense of belonging: Lego and Lee Valley Tools perform very well on this driver.

Tweed and Public Mobile scored well on employee satisfaction dimension, while Roots and Lee Valley have a strong sense of their history, which permeates who they are and how they represent themselves to consumers, Dumont says. Chapters and Indigo scored well in terms of the dimension of simply being a destination, even if there’s nothing in particular you need to buy.

“If people want to go to your store just because, you have a pretty captive audience,” Dumont says.

Number one for grocery is Longo’s, followed closely by Fortinos, Whole Foods and Farm Boy, all designed to make you feel good and make you feel hungry.

The sectors with the highest belonging scores are beauty, cannabis, men’s clothing and pharmacy.


The WOW Digital study also evaluated the online customer experience in Canada. In this edition, Leger evaluated the online CX of 184 Canadian websites and apps on 22 dimensions, allowing companies to identify their strengths and weaknesses at each stage of the online shopping experience, from online shopping to delivery. In 2021, the companies that offered the best online customer experience in Canada are:


Simons, number one in the department stores category, received kudos for its Simons mobile app, which tops the ranking of the apps Canadians appreciate most, according to the Leger survey. Its visual appeal, personalization of the CX and the presence of interesting additional content renders it a standout.

CIBC’s app, ranked second, is especially appreciated for its usability and the relevance of the features it offers. Respondents appreciate the third place SAQ app for its discounts and promotions, its visual appeal, the relevance of its functionalities and the level of personalization of the customer experience.