Study: DSW is America’s favorite shoe retailer, followed by Nordstrom

Boulder, Colo. -- In survey results released Wednesday by Market Force Information, DSW was named America’s No. 1 shoe retailer by more than 4,000 consumers polled.

Nordstrom, Nike, Shoe Carnival and Famous Footwear rounded out the top five.

The study, conducted in February, was designed to uncover which shoe retailers consumers like most and why they prefer one to another. Market Force first calculated the favorites based on the total number of votes, and then factored in the number of locations for each chain for a more level view of the results. Of all the retailers included in the study, DSW garnered the most total votes, and it remained the leader when the votes were indexed by the number of store locations.

Market Force also asked consumers to rank shoe retailers based on key attributes such as value, merchandise selection and loyalty programs. A strong loyalty program is appreciated by consumers, according to the study, and this was one area where DSW excelled, taking the top spot. DSW performed consistently well across most of the attributes while Nordstrom ranked first in seven of the nine categories – from customer service to atmosphere to merchandise selection. It didn’t fare as well in value, a distinction that went to Payless ShoeSource. Nike and Shoe Carnival emerged in the top three rankings for nearly all of the attributes.

Nike ranked number two in six of the nine categories including service, atmosphere, selection, designer lines, unique shoes and loyalty program. Payless Shoes topped the chart for value and Shoe Carnival also ranked high for several categories including value, service, atmosphere and designer lines.

“Shoes have become a pre-eminent fashion statement for women and men alike, so it is no surprise that it’s a multi-billion dollar industry with retailers fiercely battling for market share,” said Janet Eden-Harris, chief marketing officer for Market Force. “While offering a variety of merchandise is clearly a retail differentiator, our findings show that discerning consumers also strongly value great customer service, loyalty programs, a liberal return policy and unique footwear choices.”

When survey respondents were asked to rate how satisfied they were by their experiences at the nine top-ranking shoe retailers, Nordstrom came out on top, followed by Nike, Shoe Carnival, DSW and Target. To gauge if high satisfaction levels drive recommendations, Market Force asked respondents how likely they were to recommend these stores to others. Nordstrom was again a clear favorite, pointing to a correlation between customer satisfaction and willingness to recommend. Of the top retailers studied, Walmart ranked the lowest on the Customer Delight Index.