Marks & Spencer’s clothing may not exactly be flying out of the shop, but when it comes to customer loyalty the brand’s apparel is still flying high, according to a consumer study.
The survey, conducted by clothing fit preference specialist Fits.me, asked over 2,000 UK adults to identify up to three clothing brands or retailers to which they consider themselves most loyal.
M&S came out on top with 12% of all mentions in the free vote, ahead of Next (9.6%) and third-placed Primark (5.9%).
The study, ‘Knowing them, knowing you – shopper perspectives on engagement, loyalty and personalisation in apparel retail’, also contains a ‘Favourites Index’, revealing the UK’s most popular retailers.
This poll is also topped by M&S, Next and Primark – but there are dissimilarities throughout the Top 35, with well-known brands notable for either their presence or absence from one or both Top 35s.
The survey comes at a time when clothing retailers and brands believe they are facing a crisis of shopper loyalty; a mid-2014 survey cited 50% of fashion retailers as saying that maintaining customer loyalty is their biggest challenge. Yet the diverse range of brands and retailers revealed by the study to have won shopper loyalty should not be confused with a general lack of inclination to be loyal, the company says.
Conducted by Redshift Research, it found that 71% of shoppers consider themselves loyal to either one, two or three clothing retailers or brands; only 16% said they were loyal to no clothing retailer or brand.
Fits.me chief executive Stuart Simms said: “While it’s clearly very difficult for apparel brands to secure the expressed loyalty of even just one in forty people, as the ASOS share of mentions received clearly illustrates, loyalty itself is very clearly not dead. With all retailers trying to achieve this on a daily basis, this response suggests retailers still need have improvements to make.
“The challenge for every retailer is identifying how they can get to know their customers better and how they can systematically put that knowledge to work across their organisation to enhance customer loyalty and engagement beyond transactions alone. As it stands, even the largest retailers and supermarkets can’t assume we’ll simply come back next time.”
When asked which factors would most likely improve their loyalty to a retailer, 29% of shoppers answered “it stocks clothes that fit my needs and preferences” – the single largest response.
The second most popular driver for loyalty was “it has consistently better quality products for the price than others”, with just over one in five shoppers agreeing.
The survey also clarified that over one in five consumers sometimes, often or always find it difficult to find what they are looking for when they are shopping for clothes, while 46% always or often find it annoying to search through lots of clothes to find those they want. Some 78% of respondents agreed that being shown only items that retailers knew would fit them would help them to choose which products to buy.
The full report is available to download from the Fits.me website >
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