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Next comes top in favourite fashion retailer poll

Wednesday March 9th 2016

Next has been named as the UK's favourite fashion retailer, according to independent research by Market Force Information.

The study, which polled more than 3,622 UK consumers, shows that New Look, TK Maxx and Zara all tied in second place, with Primark just behind in third.

Looking at consumers’ fashion shopping habits, brand preferences and engagement, issue resolution and social media usage, the results of the research have highlighted opportunities for brands to deliver better experiences to consumers, after one in five of those polled indicated they were dissatisfied with their fashion retail experience.

Market Force Information asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent experience at a fashion retailer and their likelihood of referring that retailer to others.

In addition to assessing satisfaction and likelihood to recommend, consumers rated how well brands performed on seven key drivers of customer satisfaction.

Primark was considered to offer the best value while Next came top in terms of speed of checkout, store atmosphere and ease of finding items. However, one in three customers polled claimed their favourite fashion retailer performed relatively poorly across all seven key drivers, which related to merchandising strategies and customer service.

“Our research shows exactly where retailers should focus their efforts to improve customer experience,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force Information. “In a sector where every customer counts, the ability to differentiate in the categories where no-one is currently excelling could be vital to delivering a higher level of overall satisfaction.”

The research also found that excellent customer service increased overall satisfaction with the retailer by 13 percentage points. However, of those polled who had made a purchase, just one third had been assisted by a sales person.

“Retailers who don’t work to ensure every interaction is excellent could really be missing out on the opportunity to convert footfall into sales, or sales into larger sales,” added Flink. “Perhaps the most telling statistic is that one in every five customers said they had a mediocre or poor experience during their last shopping trip. That’s very telling in an industry where internet retailers continue to take market share.”

The study found that some 14% of consumers have used an online blog, internet site, or mobile app to share fashion ideals and personal styles, with Pinterest being by far the most frequently used mobile app.

All eight retailers featured in the research offer mobile apps, but just one in four consumers were found to be aware of this. H&M had the highest branded app use with two-thirds of those consumers who were aware of the app using it. Despite having the highest app awareness, Marks & Spencer had the lowest app usage.