A large-scale study of more than 5,700 consumers reveals that, for the fourth year in a row, Nordstrom is America’s favorite retailer. The study polled consumers on their shopping habits, brand preferences, social media use, and in-store experience. There is significant room for retail improvement, with one-in-five respondents indicating they were dissatisfied with their in-store experience.
Although Nordstrom landed on top with 58% of respondents saying they were satisfied with their experience, this is down from 65% in 2014. Marshalls, the apparel hub for thrifty shoppers, ranked second, and international fast-fashion leader H&M and Dress for Less tied for third. Kohl’s and Macy’s department stores earned fourth and fifth places respectively.
To better understand how satisfied consumers are with their retail experience, the company identified and asked participants to rate seven key areas that drive consumer satisfaction: value, atmosphere, ability to find the correct size, checkout speed, merchandise selection, ability to create an outfit, and ease of finding the items they were seeking. Although Nordstrom ranked near the bottom of the list for value, they ranked first or second in every other category. Despite higher prices, customers are willing to pay more for an upscale experience, ease of shopping, and customer service. Conversely, Marshalls topped the value category with 61% of those surveyed giving it the highest ranking of any category in the survey, but fell mid-way, or at the bottom, of most other categories. Again, indicating that if consumers are getting a bargain, they expect less in terms of checkout speed, atmosphere, or selection and size. H&M, however, consistently earned the second or third spot in every category, indicating that overall, H&M’s retail strategy is one to watch.
Although 84% of shoppers reported making a purchase during their most recent retail visit, fewer than half were assisted by a salesperson during that trip. While other surveys have found that consumers wish to shop uninterrupted by sales people, this survey found that 40% of consumers reported higher satisfaction with the shopping experience when assisted by a sales associate. Of the 80% of Nordstrom shoppers who said they were assisted by a sales associate, 60% claim that they were satisfied with the experience. This is consistent across retailers; in fact of the 16% of Walmart shoppers who received help from a sales associate, 59% said they were satisfied with their experience. Having attentive, knowledgeable sales associates on the shopping floor may be one way for fashion retailers to differentiate themselves, deliver better experiences, and ring up sales as a result.
Surprisingly, awareness of branded apps was low among shoppers. Sixty-four percent didn’t know if their favorite fashion retailer provided a mobile app. Among H&M shoppers, only 26% were aware of the brand’s app, however the use of H&M’s app was among the highest in the category with 68% of those aware of the mobile app using it. Target was the big winner here, with 66% of respondents aware of its mobile app, and 62% of those regularly using it. Target regularly features its app in print fashion magazine campaigns and creates app-centric content and games—a strategy that appears to engage consumers.
In the social space, Pinterest remains the go-to for fashion enthusiasts. Sixty-seven percent of respondents said they regularly used the site for finding and sharing fashion inspiration. Pinterest’s buyable pins, retailer inspiration boards, and styling content could help retailers reach and engage enthusiastic fashion consumers on the platform.
Today, retailers must go beyond the status quo and create positive, memorable experiences for consumers. Retailers must provide a holistic approach to the consumer, reaching them at multiple touchpoints including retail, mobile, and social. At Women’s Marketing we understand the female consumer’s purchase journey and build strategic media marketing plans that reach them at every stage of the funnel. Contact us today for an evaluation of your media strategy.
Source: MarketForce 2016 US Fashion Retail