Nordstrom is Consumers’ Favorite Fashion Retailer, According to New Market Force Study

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Foot Locker tops list as favorite shoe store

Findings from a national consumer study by Market Force Information, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions, revealed that Nordstrom is consumers’ favorite fashion retailer for the third consecutive year, followed by Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx, Macy’s and Dillard’s. The study also revealed that Foot Locker is consumers’ favorite shoe retailer, followed by Skechers, Nike, DSW and Famous Footwear.

More than 4,300 consumers nationwide were polled for the study in December 2014, which was designed to uncover consumers’ favorite fashion and shoe retailers, and factors that drive satisfaction and loyalty.

Fashion Retailer Rankings and Satisfaction
For the rankings, Market Force 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 [See Graph 1]. Nordstrom, known for delivering exceptional customer service, ranked first among the retailers studied. Kohl’s was second and T.J. Maxx ranked third, moving up two spots from the previous study’s rankings.

Graph 1 – Favorite Fashion Retailers

When asked how satisfied they were with their most recent visit to their favorite fashion retailer, 57% said they were less than delighted. This suggests that there is room for retailers to improve on attributes that drive satisfaction and win over more customers to increase their Composite Loyalty Score. Market Force’s research has shown that customers who have an exceptional shopping experience (a rating of 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) are not only more loyal customers, but also 2.5 times more likely to recommend the place to friends and family.

“Our research is telling us that for a retailer, being good just isn’t good enough,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force. “In order to move the needle in an industry where several retailers are clustered closely in the ‘good enough’ zone, brands must strive to utterly delight their customers across many attributes in order to rise above the noise and win wallet share.”

Performance in Four Key Areas
Market Force’s study results showed that fashion retail brands are highly competitive and difficult to differentiate, so executing well on a number of attributes is critical to winning wallet share. Market Force has identified four key areas that a retailer must execute on to achieve overall customer satisfaction: Merchandising (selection, choice, ease of finding items, value for money spent), Environmental Consciousness (corporate sustainability/green practices, non-synthetic fibers, information on country where merchandise was produced), Just For Me (opportunities to share fashion ideas, style information ability to customize merchandise, access to exclusive merchandise, etc.) and Store Operations (speed of checkout, overall atmosphere of store). When retailers execute well in all four areas, the percent of highly satisfied customers increases five times - from 17% to 86% [See Graph 2].

Graph 2 – How Execution in Four Key Areas Drives Satisfaction

To better understand how well fashion retail brands are executing in those four important areas, Market Force asked consumers to rank the performance of their favorite fashion retailer during their most recent visit. Not surprisingly, Nordstrom scored highest in two of the four categories: Merchandising and Just For Me. H&M ranked in the top two in three of the categories, including Environmental Consciousness (first), Just For Me (second) and Store Operations (second). Dillard’s, T.J. Maxx, Ross Stores and Macy’s also landed in the top three in at least one area [See Graph 3].

Graph 3 - Brand Performance in Four Key Areas

E-Commerce and Mobile Apps
Understanding that many shoppers are turning to the Internet for their apparel purchases, Market Force looked at e-commerce and mobile app use as it relates to fashion retailers. Twenty-eight percent of study participants indicated they had shopped on their favorite retailer’s website in the past 90 days. Of those, just 46% were delighted with their experience leaving more than half (54%) of consumers who were less than very satisfied. When broken out by fashion retailer brand, shoppers were the most satisfied at 56%, resulting in a 72% conversion rate. Dillard’s, Old Navy, Kohl’s and Ross Stores rounded out the top five [See Graph 4].

Graph 4 - Website Use, Satisfaction and Conversion Rates by Brand

When it comes to mobile apps, the majority of consumers (67%) were unaware if their favorite fashion retailer offered a mobile app. Of the 25% who were aware of their favorite fashion retailer’s app, more than half (52%) had used it. Target has the highest mobile app adoption rate, followed by H&M, Walmart, Nordstrom and Kohl’s. Consumers are primarily using their favorite retailer’s mobile app to check prices (75%), receive promotions or discounts (62%), browse merchandise (59%), check merchandise availability (41%) and purchase items (39%).

Is Customizable Fashion Going Mainstream?
The last couple of years have seen a rise in made-to-order fashion that enables shoppers to individualize shoes and clothing with their preferred patterns, designs, fabrics and more. Market Force’s findings show this movement may be gaining even more steam, with 58% of respondents indicating that they have customized at least one fashion item in the past six months. Eighteen percent had customized at least three items within that timeframe.

If the Shoe Fits
In order to understand which shoe retailer was seeing the most traffic, Market Force asked which consumers to name the shoe retailers they had visited in the past six months. Payless Shoes rose to the top, followed by DSW, Famous Footwear, Shoe Carnival and Nike. However, the number of visits does not necessarily translate into satisfaction and favorites. Based on the Composite Loyalty Score, Payless shoes was the sixth favorite retailer, preceded by some brands that did not appear in the recent visits rankings [See Graph 5].

Graph 5 – Favorite Shoe Retailers

Survey Demographics
The survey was conducted online in December 2014 across the United States. The pool of 4,350 respondents represented a cross-section of the four U.S. census regions, and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 55% reporting household incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 19 to over 65. Approximately 76% were women and 24% were men.

Follow Market Force’s Fashion Retail Insights page on LinkedIn for the latest insights, timely discussions, commentary and industry news.

About Market Force Information
Market Force is the leading global customer intelligence solutions company for multi-location businesses, including major retailers, restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, financial institutions, entertainment studios and consumer packaged goods companies. Market Force has pioneered the industry with a suite of customer intelligence solutions that enable multi-location business to manage operational excellence and customer loyalty. Proprietary decision-support tools comprise a platform of data collection techniques including mystery shopping, customer surveys and contact center; analytics algorithms for predicting growth in loyalty and financial metrics; and a technology platform for integrating multiple data streams. Market Force solutions enable brands to identify the actions required at the store level to increase customer loyalty and improve financial performance. For more information, visit

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