Consumers’ Favorite Fashion Retailers … and How They Got There
In today’s retail landscape, brands must work harder than ever to attract and retain customers. No longer is the only competition across the mall, but it’s also lurking in all corners of the internet. Retailers spend good money to market, promote and advertise themselves to lure shoppers in-store, but if the customer experience falls short of being engaging and memorable, they could be handing that sale to the competition and potentially risk losing future visits from that consumer.
Market Force Information (Market Force) recently polled more than 10,000 consumers across North America to uncover shoppers’ favorite premium fashion retailers and identify what sets them apart. The study shows that the customer experience is critical to driving satisfaction, and the retailers that create the best experience are rewarded with loyalty and wallet share.
Nordstrom and Lane Bryant Lead Rankings
In the study, customer service legend Nordstrom again topped the rankings with a score of 56 percent, though it lost some ground over last year when it scored 64 percent. Meanwhile, Lane Bryant gained seven percentage points this year to earn second place with 52 percent, while Dillard’s, Forever 21 and Kohl’s tied for third with 46 percent. Rounding out the list was J.C. Penney in fourth, Macy’s in fifth, H&M in sixth, Banana Republic in seventh and Old Navy in eighth.
To rank the retailers, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent fashion retailer experience, as well as their likelihood to refer that retailer to others. The results were averaged to attain composite loyalty index scores.
So what exactly does a fashion retailer need to do to rise the ranks and become a favorite? Market Force identified seven key areas that drive satisfaction in fashion retail when they're executed together: merchandise selection, store atmosphere, value for money spent, checkout speed, ability to create a "look," ability to find correct size, and ease of finding items.
Market Force Information asked respondents to rate premium fashion retailers in these areas, and found Nordstrom and Lane Bryant took the top spot in all categories, with the exception of the value category, which Kohl’s led.
Sales Associates Falling Short in Service
The research also shows that sales associates can do a better job interacting with and assisting shoppers. Only 43 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they were assisted by a salesperson during their most recent shopping experience at their favorite retailer, despite statistics showing shoppers are significantly more likely to make a purchase when they receive help from sales personnel. Of those who had help from a sales associate, just 38 percent received suggestions for items that fit their needs, and 54 percent felt the associate fully understood their needs. These statistics underline the need for retailers to implement formal sales processes and consistently train and assess their associates to ensure they’re executing on best practices. Lane Bryant and Nordstrom associates assisted customers most often, while Kohl’s and Old Navy customers were assisted the least.
Retailers need to ensure they're not only executing against the seven critical attributes identified, but also that their sales associates are engaging with and assisting customers effectively. The ability to do all this in concert can make the difference between a ho-hum customer experience and a delightful one that lands you at the top of the retail favorites list next year.
Brad Christian is the chief customer officer for Market Force Information, a customer experience management company that helps businesses create an exceptional customer experience, build loyalty and protect their brand’s reputation.
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