A survey of fashion retailers in the UK last year saw 50% of them saying that maintaining customer loyalty is their biggest challenge. That’s no surprise really. A loyal customer is a very cost-effective customer as retailers don’t have to spend a lot of money to lure them in (although sensible retailers will definitely invest in cossetting and retaining them, of course).
What is surprising is that the retailer that topped a new consumer poll for customer loyalty is one that Britons love to grumble about – good ol’ M&S.
The survey, conducted by apparel 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 top, followed by Next and Primark. Interestingly, the same trio topped the list of most favourite retailers too.
The Fits.me survey found that as many as 71% of shoppers consider themselves loyal to either one, two or three clothing retailers or brands and only 16% said they were loyal to none.
Now, while the fact that customers are loyal is good news, none of the retailers listed (full top 10 below) enjoyed massive scores, which means there’s still work ahead. So what can retailers do?
- 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. So chalk one up for retailers needing to get more accurate information about their customers, their tastes and their lifestyles.
- 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. That means customers may be paying a low price, but if the quality feels poor they’ll go elsewhere.
- 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. While stripping stores of stock isn’t recommended, this one is all about good store layout/design and ranges/trends that are clearly defined and easily identified.
The full Customer Loyalty Index Top 10 is…
- M&S with a 12% share of mentions
- Next on 9.6%
- Primark, 5.9%
- Debenhams, 5.1%
- New Look, 4.7%
- H&M, 3.9%
- George at Asda, 3.7%
- F&F at Tesco, 2.9%
- Matalan, 2.7%
- Asos, 2.3%