Every retailer hopes to earn not just wallet share, but also the loyalty of its customers. A delighted and loyal customer will keep coming back, spend more money while there, and go one step further by recommending their favorite retailer to friends and family.
Recently, Market Force Information announced the results of its annual fashion retail study that uncovered consumers’ favorite fashion retailers and how brands performed against key attributes that drive satisfaction. More than 5,700 consumers were polled for the study, which revealed the fashion retail brands that are knocking it out of the park, and uncovered areas where brands can deliver better experiences to consumers.
The study found that Nordstrom is America’s favorite fashion retailer for the fourth consecutive year. Discount chain Marshalls made big gains, moving from seventh place last year to second place this year. H&M and Ross Dress for Less also landed in the top five after not making the cut in previous years. For the rankings, Market Force Information asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent fashion retailer experience, and their likelihood to refer that retailer to others. The results were averaged to attain a composite loyalty score.
So what exactly does the research tells us a fashion retailer must do to rise through the ranks and become a leader in the space?
Market Force Information identified seven key areas that drive satisfaction in fashion retail, and as part of the study, asked respondents to rate brands in those areas: merchandise selection, value, store atmosphere, ability to create an outfit, checkout speed, ease of finding items and size selection. Interestingly, nearly one-third of shoppers surveyed indicated that the fashion retailer they most recently visited performed poorly in all seven categories.
There were retailers that did stand out in shoppers’ eyes. For example, Nordstrom ranked No. 1 for store atmosphere, size selection and checkout speed. H&M performed well across the board, including receiving the highest marks for merchandise selection, ability to create an outfit and ease of finding items. Marshalls and Old Navy were cited for having the best value.
Another key element that drives satisfaction and conversions in-store is the way sales associates interact with shoppers. Forty percent of the survey respondents said the sales experience was extremely important to them, yet less than half said a sales associate engaged with them on the floor. In fact, two-thirds of those who failed to make a purchase indicated that they weren't assisted by a sales associate, demonstrating missed opportunities to drive conversion rates.
Sales associate attentiveness is a key area where brands can differentiate in this competitive space, and deliver better experiences that result in higher conversion rates and average order sizes.
Coincidentally, Nordstrom’s sales associates were shown to assist customers the most, and the retailer received the highest satisfaction scores across the board.
Cheryl Flink is the chief strategy officer of Market Force Information, a provider of location-level measurement solutions.