How to conduct effective clothing and footwear market research?

The clothing and footwear market research requires a diverse mix of research methodologies. Only such an approach will allow you to capture all of the trends and understand them better. The best way to do that is to combine a quantitative approach with observations, assisted shopping and eye-tracking.

A good understanding of the mechanisms of purchasing in specific target groups is a prerequisite for developing a proper sales strategy. In order to arrive at a right interpretation of research into consumer needs and behaviours in the clothing and footwear market, you need to take into consideration that the results can often permeate each other. You also need to look at the context and the broader picture. Below you’ll find a couple of key factors that modify the understanding of findings from a segmentation study – especially one based on an analysis of usage and attitudes.

 

Strength of neighbouring shops

This is the first factor you need to take into account when building a sales strategy based on clothing and footwear market research. The overall assessment of the brand or purchasing plans can both change when a consumer is in the point of purchase. When considering the analysis, you need to take into account three key factors:

  • push and pull factors, and the hierarchy of visiting,
  • price range perception,
  • perception of the scope of the offer.

The assessment of a particular shop is highly contextual. It can be significantly different even for a corresponding price and product offer in a shop with identical parameters. Modifying the local sales policy can require considerable changes. It depends on how much a chain’s policy allows for such an individual approach. The best way to verify the validity of this method is to conduct price tests (wet tests).

 

Analysing consumer paths in shopping centres

This analysis will probably show a vast array of strategies used by consumers. They obviously differ in terms of attitudes – planned shopping versus impulsive shopping. They also depend on a consumer’s opinion about the price, their frequency of shopping, and therefore the awareness of different shops’ offers. Consumer paths don’t just depend on the brand’s image (offer, prices, style, etc.). Also a given shop’s detailed product offer matters. Thanks to assisted shopping, we were able to observe on multiple occasions how the shopping itinerary changes in individual segments, depending on the assessment of the offer of the first shop of the journey. What’s important to stress is that those changes occur also in shopping centres that consumers are well familiar with, and where the element of surprise associated with the location of a competitor’s shop or offer can be temporarily disabled.

Researching clothes and footwear cannot do without assisted shopping and eye-tracking. These techniques allow to identify the elements which shops use to hold consumer attention, draw consumers into the shop, spark an interest in their offer, encourage a purchase or entice consumers to return.

 

Looking for clean segments

The search for so-called clean (homogenous) segments increasingly seems to be just a demand of people in charge of sales. Increasingly, we can observe segments which combine seemingly contradictory needs or behaviours. Consumers are becoming less loyal to brands, but also to segments. Loyalty to the place of purchase (like a centre or street) is still at a relatively high level. Of course the attractiveness, followed by loyalty to a shopping centre, are the resultants of brands presents in a given centre.

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