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An exclusive case study, authored by Chloe Rigby in the ConsumerX 2024 report, tracks how Next approaches putting the customer at the heart of its business.

Fashion and homewares retail brand Next looks to its data to find out what – and how – its customers want to buy, so that it can respond accordingly. In its full-year results for 2023, it reports on how it has responded as customers buy more expensive items. 

“There appears to be something of a shift back to investment dressing with customers buying somewhat fewer, slightly more expensive items,” it says. “Many teams have experimented at prices that are higher than those we would normally sell; stretching the boundaries of the brand to new levels of quality and design through improved fabrics, prints, embellishment techniques, textures and trims. This initiative has also opened up new sources of supply previously considered too expensive.” Value for money clearly remains important for both the customer and the brand. 

At the same time, the retailer is investing in personalisation on its digital platforms, with the aim of “connecting customers with the products they most want to buy.” This, says Next, is important because shoppers buy from a wider Next range, with more than 75k different products produced each year. 

A wide range is something prioritised by ConsumerX research respondents around the world – 26% say that a greater product range is one of the reasons why they go online. Next’s strategy is to ensure its customer service also works for customers, focusing on delivery and fulfilment options more generally. On its website, Next offers next-day delivery to home or to a parcel shop on orders placed before 11pm, at a cost of £4.95, or free with delivery saver scheme nextunlimited (which costs £22.50 a year). 

Only 16.4% ConsumerX survey respondents in 14 countries, questioned in August 2023, say that next-day delivery had not been a factor in their purchases over the last year. 19.7% said it was important for all of their purchases and 32.4% for most of them. 

The ability to order online and collect an item, either instore or from a collection point, is a popular option for shoppers, ConsumerX research suggests, with 22.9% of respondents describing this service as very important to them. Asked how often they had ordered online and collected an item, 29.3% of respondents had done so at least five times in the previous year.

Our first ConsumerX report, at the heart of this report is the ConsumerX database, with findings from five years of consumer surveys. Each year, more than 40,000 consumers from over 20 key ecommerce markets around the world respond to ConsumerX surveys that are translated into a dozen languages.

This is one of four company profiles in the report, with looks at eBay, Ikea and Screwfix.

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