Next leapfrogs TK Maxx and New Look to be UK’s favourite fashion retailer, Market Force Information study shows

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In fiercely competitive times for the sector, Next has been named as Britain’s favourite fashion retailer, according to an independent study by Market Force Information. In the large-scale consumer research study, New Look, TK Maxx and Zara all tied in second place, with Primark just behind in third.

More than 3,622 UK consumers were polled for the study, which reveals consumers’ fashion shopping habits, brand preferences and engagement, issue resolution and social media usage. The research highlighted opportunities for brands to deliver better experiences to consumers, with one in five indicating they were dissatisfied with their fashion retail experience.

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Fashion retailer rankings

For the rankings, 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. The results were averaged to rank each brand on a Composite Loyalty Index*.

Room for improvement

In addition to assessing satisfaction and likelihood to recommend, consumers rated how well brands performed on seven key drivers of customer satisfaction. Primark offers the best value, and Next comes top in terms of speed of checkout, store atmosphere and ease of finding items. But a surprisingly high one in three customers claim their favourite fashion retailer actually performs relatively poorly across all seven key drivers, which related to merchandising strategies and customer service. Both components are key areas where retailers can differentiate.

“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.”

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Suits you sir: sales staff hold the key to customer satisfaction…and sales

Another key finding of the research is the value of excellent service from sales staff, which 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,” says 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”.

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Fashion forward: app usage

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 is aware of this. H&M has the highest branded app use with two-thirds of those aware of the app using it. M&S on the other hand, despite having the highest app awareness, had the lowest app usage.

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