Retail News: Nordstrom Is Nation’s Favorite Fashion Retailer, New Market Force Study Finds

Annual Retail Study Also Uncovers Top Shoe Brands, And Trends In Consumer Confidence, Wearables And E-Commerce

Nordstrom’s fan base is as fervent as ever. For the fifth time in a row, Nordstrom ranked as the nation’s favorite fashion retailer in an annual retail industry study conducted by Market Force Information (Market Force). Market Force polled over 10,000 consumers for the study, which ranks top fashion retailers, reveals retail technology trends and looks at spending plans and habits.

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Market Force Information (Market Force) logo

The survey was conducted online in December 2016 across the United States. There was an overall pool of 10,714 respondents covering all four U.S. Census regions. Within the survey pool, 7,241 reported shopping for fashion at a favorite retailer within the past 90 days, and 5,494 reported shopping for shoes within the past six months. There was a broad spectrum of income levels, with 54% indicating incomes of over $50,000 a year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to over 65. Approximately 75% were women and 25% were men. For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their customer satisfaction with their most recent fashion retailer experience, and their likelihood to refer the brand to others. The results were averaged to attain a Composite Loyalty Score. Only retailers with at least 100 locations were included.

Dillard’s and T.J. Maxx Climb Higher in Rankings

Nordstrom, which has built a reputation for incomparable customer service, ranked first among the retailers studied with a score of 64%, up 6% from 2016. Dillard’s made even larger strides from last year, gaining 16% percentage points to rank second with 54%, and was closely trailed by off-price retailer T.J. Maxx, which earned a 53% score. Ann Taylor and Nordstrom Rack landed in the top of the rankings, after not making the cut last year, tying with Kohl’s for fourth place. [See Graph 1].

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Graph 1 – 2017 Fashion Retailer Rankings

Nordstrom Top for Value, Dillard’s for Creating Full Looks

In the attributes that set one retailer apart from the others, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor and Dillard’s all performed exceedingly well. Overall-winner Nordstrom ranked first for value, atmosphere, and ease of finding items, while Dillard’s took the No. 1 spots for creating a look and finding correct sizes. Ann Taylor landed in the top three in all of these categories. T.J. Maxx and Ross were called out for merchandise selection, and American Eagle has the fastest checkout speeds. [See Graphs 2 and 3].

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Graph 2 – Rankings by Attributes

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Graph 3 – Rankings by Attributes

Sizing up Sales Support

Despite the fact that sales assistance is shown to boost satisfaction and sales, less than half (42%) of consumers report being helped by an associate during their last shopping trip. Lane Bryant’s and Nordstrom’s associates assisted customers most often, while Target and T.J. Maxx shoppers received the least help. [See Graph 4].graph-4-sales-associate-effectiveness-by-retailer

Sales associates are the front-line representatives for retailers, and how they engage with customers can make or break the shopping experience and impact sales,” said Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force Information. “The research shows that 90% of customers who were assisted by a sales associate bought something. When customers were not assisted, only 82% made a purchase. That 8% difference in conversion rate is a key reason why fashion retailers need to invest in their sales staff.” Continue reading