is America’s most ‘relevant’ retailer

Target and Wal-Mart follow in Brodeur Partners’ test of retail brand relevance.


BOSTON — Although it’s the 800-pound gorilla in online book sales, has also managed to become America’s most relevant retailer of any kind.

In a world that gives us the low, low prices of Wal-Mart and the sizzle of the Apple Store, Amazon’s outright dominance in relevance is one of several interesting findings in the Brodeur Partners Retail Relevance Top 10 ranking announced today.

The study asked shoppers to look at 21 of the nation’s top retailers. They were asked to select through an extensive battery of questions the “most” and “least” personally relevant retailer in four areas:  practicality, values, sensory appeal and social appeal. The study involved more than 2,000 shoppers ages 18 to 65.

“These are four ingredients of relevance that you look for in everything, from a Google search to a product, candidate, cause, or place to shop,” said Brodeur CEO Andy Coville. “ has clearly cracked the code when it comes to being relevant to American shoppers.”

Shoppers gave the highest ranking in the area of practical value, which is striking when one considers there’s no real-world storefront shoppers can visit. The findings support ample evidence that retail’s strongest momentum is now in the online experience.

But offline experience still matters. Target came in second in the relevance ranking largely because shoppers found it the most appealing to the senses. “Clearly there’s something shoppers find exciting about Target, its store design, merchandise and messaging.  That is reflected in its high sensory ranking,” said Jerry Johnson, Brodeur’s executive vice president of strategic planning.

“The case of highlights the incredible power of e-commerce in the retail world of today,” Johnson added. “It shows how technology can move a retailer from specialty online bookstore to one that people view as more practical and value-driven than Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer.”

Wal-Mart came in third place.  Along with Amazon, shoppers selected Wal-Mart as the retailer that had the highest “practical relevance” among those tested.  As noted in an earlier study, practical relevance is the most important attribute a retailer can possess, yet it drops sharply in importance the younger the shopper.

Brodeur Partner’s ‘Retail Relevance Top Ten’

The Brodeur Partners Retail Relevance 2012 Top Ten study builds upon relevance research Brodeur released a year ago which found  that high relevance scores often correlate with superior growth and performance even when a company is dwarfed by industry giants. This year’s research uncovered a generational practicality divide in consumer shopping experiences, which Brodeur Partners announced three weeks ago.

Brodeur defines relevance as the full experience of an idea, product, brand, candidate or cause, one that not only changes minds, but also changes behavior. Although logic is part of it, relevance is equally a function of values, sensory experiences and community impulses. Brodeur helps clients improve their own relevance through quantitative and qualitative research on these relevance components, and through controlled trials of various communications approaches.

About Brodeur Partners

Brodeur Partners is a strategic communications company that helps organizations become and remain relevant in a complicated world. Headquartered in Boston, the company has five U.S. offices and operates in 33 countries globally. It is differentiated by its focus on relevance, behavioral change and ability to bring a discipline-agnostic approach to its non-profit, consumer and business-to-business clients. Visit the new website at