Is it confidence in finding the perfect piece for a special occasion, or the pursuit of a must-have item or status brand? According to the new Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, it's largely because they're personally engaged by the fashions on offer — a distinctly emotional benefit.
The ability to find "unique and stylish merchandise" for one's self is a significantly stronger driver of loyalty to apparel stores than it is of loyalty to discount stores, which keep raising their style quotient, found the Brand Keys study, conducted throughout the first quarter of 2007. A range of such merchandise creates an emotional bond that is more important than the rational considerations seen as the main reasons for return trips to discount stores, observed Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.
It turns out that among fashion specialists, Hennes & Mauritz and Victoria's Secret have been forging that bond most often, based on the responses of 2,000 women and 2,000 men to a variety of questions, including: "In the past six months, is there an apparel retailer where you've spent $30 or more?" Each person polled cited any one store of their own choosing.
Passikoff's take on Victoria's Secret's popularity is that "sex sells," while that of H&M, he said, points to its "ownership of cheap chic."
Also among consumers' favorite fashion shops this year have been J. Crew and PacSun, choices Passikoff attributed to the stores' resonant offer of prep and surf style, respectively.
People's ability to find unique and stylish merchandise for themselves accounted for nearly one-third of their attachment to particular apparel stores, compared with a slimmer one-fourth of their inclination to revisit a discount store.
By comparison, loyalty to a discount store was fostered more by "a great shopping experience" (24 percent versus 19 percent for an apparel store) and "store reputation" (20 percent versus 18 percent).
Convenient location and value, which played roughly the same role in drawing people to apparel stores and discount stores, have become a price of admission for attracting customers.
While H&M and Victoria's Secret have done what Passikoff termed a "relatively great job" in luring repeat shoppers, he added that "brands, and fashion brands in particular, have never done a great job of keeping up" with customers' expectations. Those two chains, for example, each rated a 120 in an index where apparel consumers' average expectation, based on the four loyalty drivers, was a significantly greater 134.
“I see things on the hanger and I’m, like, ‘I never knew that color worked on me.’ It’s things you necessarily wouldn’t choose to wear, but once you put them on, you see why Janie is who Janie is." — Lily Collins on working with former "Mad Men" costume designer, Janie Bryant on creating looks for her role as Celia Brady's in Amazon series, "The Last Tycoon." 📸@jilliansollazzo #wwdeye
EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Rutson has been tapped to Build New American Fashion Group. The parent of Joie, Equipment and Current/Elliott hired the merchant to rev up its brands and expand its portfolio into designer, beauty and lifestyle categories. Read more on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion
Michael Kors' $1.3B Jimmy Choo deal has the company squaring off with Coach Inc. as both seek to build American powerhouses. Coach bought Stuart Weitzman in 2015 and Kate Spade just two weeks ago, but Michael Kors' acquisition may be putting pressure on its rival in the new push for scale. #wwdnews (📷: George Chinsee)
Meet actress Lucy Boynton, who plays opposite Naomi Watts in the recently released Netflix series "Gypsy." Boynton stopped by WWD to talk about her upcoming projects and her nomadic lifestyle. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)