MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Nation’s favorite fashion retailer is…

BY Marianne Wilson

For the sixth consecutive year, a customer service legend took top honors as the country’s favorite fashion retailer.

Nordstrom ranked No. 1 in Market Force’s annual study, which polled more than 10,000 consumers who were asked to rate their satisfaction with their most recent experience with a premium fashion retailer (as opposed to a value brand). Only retailers with at least 100 locations were included.

The report ranks fashion retail brands and identifies what sets each apart. Along with being the overall favorite, Nordstrom also came out on top in several individual categories, including store atmosphere, checkout speed, size options, and merchandise selection,

Nordstrom topped the overall rankings with a score 56%, but it lost ground over last year when it scored 64%. Meanwhile, plus-size specialty retailer Lane Bryant gained seven percentage points this year to earn second place overall with 52%. Dillard’s, Forever 21 and Kohl’s tied for third with a 46% score. Rounding out the top five were J.C. Penney (No. 4, 45%), and Macy’s (No. 5, 44%).

In terms of value for money spent, Kohl’s was the favorite, with a score of 45% (H&M was second, at 43%). Survey participants also ranked Kohl’s as having the most valuable loyalty card (54%). Nordstrom came in second (40%).

In other survey findings:

• Brick-and-mortar shopping might be changing shape, but it’s still a popular option among consumers. The study found 76% of participants have shopped at one of their favorite retailers’ physical stores at least once in the past 90 days, with 48% shopping at least three times and 14% at least six times.

• Value is by far the biggest driver in choosing where to shop (70%), followed by service (37%), atmosphere (33%) and the ability to purchase merchandise on a retailer’s website (31%).

• Three-quarters of participants interact with their favorite fashion retailer online, a 103% increase over the previous year. Most do so to sign up to receive email and text promotions.

• In the past 90 days, 42% of consumers visited their favorite retailer’s website and 69% made a purchase. The most purchased merchandise online by far was casual clothing, followed by shoes, accessories, business clothing and sleepwear. Practically no one reported buying items such as perfume, cosmetics or gift cards online. Respondents reported visiting Nordstrom’s, Lane Bryant’s and Kohl’s websites the most, and making the most online purchases from Macy’s, Forever 21 and Kohl’s.

• Only 43% of participants reported being helped by a sales associate during their last shopping trip, and only 38% received suggestions for items that fit their needs. Lane Bryant and Nordstrom associates assisted customers most often, while Kohl’s and Old Navy customers were assisted the least.

“Retailers spend good money to market, promote and advertise their brands to lure shoppers into their door, but if their front-line representatives are failing to engage customers and deliver on the brand promise and fundamental customer service basics, they could easily lose that sale to their competitor next door,” said Brad Christian, chief customer officer for Market Force. “Our research shows that just 54% of shoppers felt the associate fully understood their needs, which underlines the need to consistently train and assess associates to ensure they’re executing on best practice sales processes.”

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Retail, restaurant chains among 30 most polarizing brands in U.S.

BY Marianne Wilson

A survey by Morning Consult ranks the companies, brands, and organizations that are the most politically divisive—or the ones that divide Democrats and Republicans the most. And at the top of the list is Trump Hotels.

Media companies dominate the top 30. But five retail/restaurant companies also are included: Chick-fil-A (#15), Bass Pro Shops and Papa John’s (tied at #21), Starbucks (#25), and Cabela’s (#26).

The survey also found somewhat of a political divide when it comes to the nation’s top two discounters, with Walmart being more popular among Republican shoppers and Target doing better with Democrats.

The data shows Walmart’s favorability leans Republican by 14 points, with a 69% net favorability, compared to 55 among Democrats. Target’s favorability, on the other hand, leans Democratic, by 18 points, with 71% net favorability compared to 53% among Republicans.

The methodology for Morning Consult’s Most Polarizing Brands report, which is is based on 336,370 surveys conducted across the United States , is available here.

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New competitor giving Walmart a run for the money on price

BY Marianne Wilson

Despite only launching in the United States this year, German discount grocer Lidl is already taking Walmart on in price.

In a price comparison test conducted by Kantar Retail, Lidl posted lower prices than Walmart on eight of 25 (32%) items. The analysis compared pricing between Lidl and Walmart on 25 branded SKUS and 15 private label SKUs across edible, non-edible and health and beauty categories. Overall, the difference between baskets was a mere 37 cents.

The price gap between Lidl and Walmart widened substantially when Kantar Retail compared only the private label items. Lidl’s private label basket was priced 23% less than Walmart’s, with no comparable private labels cheaper at Walmart.

Although Walmart achieved price parity on most items in the branded basket, the retailers had equivalent pricing on only two private label SKUs (bananas and whole milk). Lidl posted a double-digit percentage price advantage over Walmart on 73% of items in the basket (11 of 15 items), with prices ranging from 10% to 57% cheaper than Walmart.

Additional findings from the Kantar Retail’s Breakthrough Insights study can be found here.

 

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