The Market Force study, conducted in February, was designed to uncover consumer shopping trends and behaviors, including how they’ve shifted over the past three years.
Out of the top-ranking retailers in the study, H&M did the best job of attracting new customers for the second time in a row. The Swedish retailer received the highest ranking when the survey votes were indexed to account for number of locations per chain. Kohl’s secured the No. 2 spot, up from its sixth-place finish in Market Force’s previous retail study in late 2011, and Macy’s moved from No. 11 up to third place. Coldwater Creek and White House | Black Market both fell significantly this year from their top-five ranking in 2011.
The survey revealed that consumers were most likely to try a new retailer when shopping for casual clothing (46%), business attire (17%), evening wear (12%), and athletic wear (9%) and outdoors apparel (8%).
The Power of Promos
Not surprisingly, good deals are primarily responsible for getting people into the doors of a fashion retailer for the first time. The Market Force study found that a sale, discount or promo was the impetus for nearly one in five who tried a new retailer (19%, up from 11% in 2011). But recommendations from family and friends – which was the top influencer in the 2011 study – ranked a close second with 17%. Fourteen-percent reported stopping on impulse. Newspaper, magazine and TV ads ranked lowest, similar to 2011’s findings.
Satisfaction (and Sales) Guaranteed?
Of the consumers who recently ventured into a new retailer, just 60% said they were delighted by their experiences, while many – 40% – were neutral or negative. The retailers that delivered a top-notch experience saw the payoff in the cash register. Of the shoppers who reported being highly satisfied by their initial visit, 90% said they made a purchase. The most-bought items were casual clothes, accessories, business apparel and evening wear. Those highly satisfied customers also planned to return – 90% said they would shop at this retailer again within the next 90 days.
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