Shoppers look for simplicity in online retailers, research finds

2011 U.S. Brand Simplicity Index names top U.S.-based retailers

NEW YORK — Online brands that offer less complex return policies, along with ways to easily identify the highest-quality items, earned high marks among consumers, according to new research from global strategic branding firm Siegel+Gale.

In the 2011 U.S. Brand Simplicity Index, survey respondents defined brands as simple based on "their ease of understanding, transparency, caring, innovation and usefulness of communications, as well as how complex and complicated typical interactions are in relation to industry peers," Siegel+Gale said. This year, the top three brands were Netflix, Google and Amazon. The list also included U.S. retailers Target, Publix and Whole Foods, which ranked Nos. 4, 5 and 9, respectively.

"This survey demonstrates that brands that put a premium on simpler and more transparent user experiences and interactions inspire confidence and generate customer loyalty," Siegel+Gale chief creative officer and co-CEO Howard Belk said.

Added Siegel+Gale chief strategy officer and co-CEO David Srere, "It is time for brands across all industries to recognize that communicating in a clear, direct and straightforward manner generates a high level of customer loyalty and, ultimately, profit. Consumers are demanding simplicity in all of their interactions, and those organizations that can satisfy this demand will be able to compete — and thrive — in today's competitive marketplace."

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