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Exclusive: Value beats brand name in battle for customer loyalty

Price has emerged as the key motivational factor for fashion shoppers as consumers look for value for money rather than named brands, according to exclusive research seen by Drapers.

Both Drapers’ latest Customer Insight Report, carried out by OnePoll, and the Proactive Retail report from Attune Consulting found price was front of mind for shoppers when buying fashion and plays a pivotal role when they are deciding where to buy from.

In Proactive Retail, Attune found only 48% of respondents would stick with a known brand if they found a similar item cheaper from an unknown brand or retailer. One in three have changed their shopping habits, dropping branded clothing in favour of value items, while 67% said they were shopping around more.

Richard Emmott, head of retail in Europe at Attune, said the shift to multichannel shopping and the amount of information shoppers are now bombarded with was making them more savvy and driving their fickle behaviour.

“The sheer volume of products and different prices that go out as customer offers means they are picking up the latest trends from different pieces of communication and, as a result, they are moving between brands and retailers,” he explained.

Emmott’s comments are supported by Drapers’ exclusive Customer Insight Report, in which 41% of shoppers said a discount would motivate them to try a new brand or retailer. The report also offers some insight into how shoppers can be convinced to remain loyal, with more than half of respondents saying they stay with a brand if it offers “great value for money”.

When asked what would encourage them to spend more with a particular retailer or brand, 63% said they would be encouraged to shop more if they received money-off vouchers, while 44.3% said the benefits of a loyalty card would encourage them to spend more.

Some 30.6% of respondents said retailers need to stock more appealing product in the sizes they want.

Indeed, sizing is an issue both for online shopping, where a lack of accurate size description stops customers from buying more, and in store, where too few garments in the right size is seen as one of the key failings of the high street.

Emmott said retailers must deploy “all the tools at their disposal” to retain customers. “Bringing a customer in is extremely hard, but keeping them by ensuring they have a great experience also takes a lot of hard work,” he added.

The real-time data now available to retailers and brands is “game changing” he added, particularly for loyalty cards. Emmott predicted these would move away from plastic, points-based cards towards mobile apps with personalised offers.

Customers, however, are yet to be convinced by retailers and brands’ desire to personalise the shopping experience, with 42% of respondents to the Drapers research saying they do not want a personalised experience.

The research follows a recent article in Drapers detailing the decline of the men’s branded young fashion sector since last year, with analysts at Kantar predicting a long-term shift towards cheaper – but just as fashionable – alternatives.

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