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Nordstrom Ranks First, Walmart Last in Consumer Satisfaction Survey

Nordstrom is the favorite fashion retailer of U.S. consumers for the third year in a row, according to the most recent annual survey conducted by Colorado-based global intelligence firm Market Force Information.

When looking into the various attributes of the fashion retailers, Market Force found that Nordstrom led in six of the eight attributes, ranging from great service to merchandise selection. The retailer also beat out Macy’s as the decisive leader in the business wear and evening wear categories.

The Seattle based department store and off-price retailer known for its attention to service edged out Kohl’s, T.J. Maxx, Macy’s and Dillard’s to win the top spot.

Kohl’s placed second in the ranking, as it did last year. The mid-tier department store has been expanding its assortment of national brands and continuing to strengthen its offering in junior apparel.

World’s largest retailer Walmart came in last among the group of retailers.

The study also found that consumers’ favorite shoe retailers are Foot Locker, followed by Skechers, Nike, DSW and Famous Footwear.

The poll consisted of 4,350 consumers nationwide in December 2014, seventy-five percent of whom were women. It was designed to reveal consumers’ favorite fashion and shoe retailers, along with understanding what drives consumer satisfaction and loyalty.

“Nordstrom has cultivated a distinctive brand over the past century, and while it’s known for its selection of designer clothing, its real claim to fame is quality customer service,” Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force said. “We weren’t hugely surprised to see Nordstrom and Kohl’s rank one and two in this year’s study, since both brands share a customer-centric approach that breeds loyalty, recommendations and customer delight.”

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Despite the strong showing by some merchants, the study also showed that retailers have some work to do. When consumers were asked about their level of satisfaction with the most recent visit to their favorite fashion retailer, 57 percent said they were less than pleased. This suggests room for retailers to improve in order to increase their Composite Loyalty Score. Research found that people with an exceptional shopping experience are two and a half times more likely to recommend the retailer to others.

Cheryl Flink, chief strategy officer for Market Force, explained, “Our research is telling us that for a retailer, being good just isn’t good enough.” She added, “In order to move the needle in an industry where several retailers are clustered closely in the ‘good enough’ zone, brands must strive to utterly delight their customers across many attributes in order to rise above the noise and win wallet share.”

The study also showed that fashion retail brands are extremely competitive and not very diverse. Market Force identified four key areas that a retailer must fulfill in order to attain a customer’s overall satisfaction: Merchandising, Environmental Consciousness, Just For Me and Store Operations.

In light of these four key areas, Market Force asked consumers to rank the performance of their chosen fashion retailer during their most recent visit. Nordstrom scored the highest in merchandising and Just For Me, while H&M ranked in the top two in three categories, including Environmental Consciousness, Just For Me and Store Operations.

Market Force followed up on the poll with a look into e-commerce and mobile app use as it relates to the retailers. Twenty-eight percent of consumers indicated they shopped on their favorite fashion retailer’s website in the past 90 days, and of those, 46 percent were pleased and 54 percent left unsatisfied. Nordstrom.com shoppers were the most satisfied with 56 percent, ending in a 72 percent conversion rate.

In terms of mobile apps, Market Force found that 67 percent of consumers did not know if their favorite retailer even offered a mobile app. Out of the 25 percent who were aware, nearly 52 percent used it. Target had the highest mobile app adoption rate, followed by H&M, Walmart, Nordstrom and Kohl’s.

Customization has undoubtedly taken the fashion retail industry by storm. Market Force found that 58 percent of consumers said they customized at least one fashion item in the past six months, with 18 percent admitting to customizing at least three items.

Market Force also asked consumers which shoe retailers they visited in the past six months. Payless Shoes came out on top, followed by DSW, Famous Footwear, Shoe Carnival and Nike. However, based on the Composite Loyalty Score, Payless finished as the sixth favorite retailer, while Foot Locker led the way as number one.