New Report: Best Specialty Stores for Customer Satisfaction

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What do shoppers like best these days about specialty stores? Apparently it’s not going inside them. According to the latest retail study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), customers say they’re most satisfied with the reliability of specialty stores’ mobile apps and their minimal downtimes related to crashes and lags.

The ACSI’s Retail and Consumer Shipping Study 2021-2022 details how customers feel about America’s most popular specialty stores.

While the study doesn’t explicitly define what a specialty store is, the list is dominated by shops like Nike, Petsmart and Michaels, which all specialize in specific segments of the retail industry.

The #1 Specialty Store in America Is…

Nike comes in the top spot for specialty stores. The athletics brand scored an 81, which represents a 1% increase over the previous year.

Here are some key findings from the report:

  • Hobby Lobby and TJX (HomeGoods) tie for second place (80) with the latter experiencing a 1% increase over the previous year.
  • The largest dips on the list (4%) were shared by Signet Jewelers and AutoZone.
  • Aside from mobile app reliability, benchmarks that garnered the highest scores (81) were for convenience of store layouts and store hours.

Here Are the Top Specialty Stores According to Customers

Specialty Retail Stores2021 Scores% Change
Hobby Lobby800%
TJX (HomeGoods)801%
Bass Pro Shops790%
L Brands79-2%
Famous Footwear780%
Ulta Beauty78-1%
Discount Tire770%

The ACSI study is based on email interviews with 36,517 customers who were contacted between January 11 and December 20, 2021, and asked to evaluate their recent experiences with companies.

Read the complete report from ACSI.

How To Save Money at Your Favorite Specialty Store

Sign Up for Deals

In exchange for your email address, some stores will share their best deals with you and even give you a head’s up before items go on sale. 

For example, The Home Depot sends me promo codes in email newsletters every so often, so when I get a sale alert in my inbox, I’m all over it! Here’s an example of one I just received:

The Home Depot sale
Screenshot via The Home Depot email

Here’s how to save at The Home Depot.


Use Coupons

Another way you can save at your favorite store is to find coupons that you can apply toward items you want to buy. One site that is a favorite of Team Clark’s is, which has deals from plenty of retailers.

Read our review of

Use Rewards Credit Cards

Save on items you need to buy by using reward credit cards to pay for them. You can use cash back cards that give 2% to 5% back on purchases.

“My favorite reward cards are ones that actually pay you money. I want cash, because nobody can tell you when you can or can’t spend your cash,” money expert Clark Howard says.

Clark has a Citi Double Cash card that earns 2% on all purchases. Here are the other cards in his wallet.

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