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Shoppers want value and quality, says report

Exclusive Drapers survey identifies the dominant factors that influence customers’ buying decisions  

Fashion retailers and brands can’t afford to sacrifice quality for price if they want to attract shoppers, according to exclusive research commissioned by Drapers.

The Drapers Customer Insight Report highlighted that price remains the leading factor influencing customers’ buying decisions but quality is almost as important. Of the 2,000 consumers polled, 28.7% said price was the main reason they bought clothes from their favourite fashion clothing retailer, with quality coming a close second for 25.45% as the main reason for buying.

Jones Bootmaker managing director Andrew White said: “Over the past 12 months, we’ve noticed that people have been a bit more price sensitive, but when I say price I mean value for money rather than simply a lower price.

“Customers are looking for more shoe for their money in terms of getting the best quality leathers and materials and are looking for a lot more value from a product, which also ties in with people wanting good quality,” he added.

Simon Poole, managing director of men’s young fashion brand Luke, said he has always strived to exaggerate the quality over the price, with value for money a hugely important factor for consumers. “It’s also about perceived quality and price. If you’re offering a nicer quality fabric with better finishes then it makes a difference,” he said. “Once you get somebody and they’re loyal to your brand you could have a customer for life if they trust the quality.”

Paul Lorraine, UK managing director of womenswear brand Basler, said: “People want investment pieces they can get value from and they can feel great in.”

However, with retailers fighting hard for consumer spend, margins could be squeezed in order to offer the customer value for money and quality.

Womenswear chain East’s chief executive Suzi Spink said getting the balance right between quality and price is less of an issue when you have good relationships with suppliers: “We always try to have product at the entry-price level but with entry-price product you tend to buy these in bigger volumes so it doesn’t affect your margins.”

For White, offering a great quality product at the appropriate price and winning customers is more important than retaining huge margins.

The research, carried out in association with Manthan Systems, also found that money-off vouchers would encourage more than half (55%) of respondents to shop more with a retailer or brand.

Grace Barby, owner of womenswear indie Grace & Glory in Wolverhampton, said: “People are very money conscious, they will often hold off until there’s a deal on or spend slightly more if there is a promotion.”

Story in numbers

29% of customers polled said price was their primary reason for choosing to shop with a retailer

25% said quality was their main driver for shopping at certain fashion retailers

55% said a loyalty scheme or money-off vouchers would motivate them to shop at a particular retailer

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