Chapter 2

More neuroscientific analysis...

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The neuroscience barometer

Fashion customer journey average score 7.8

Our barometer, the first of its kind, uses independent analysis from the neuroscientists and customer journey experts. The scoring and ranking considers conscious and unconscious customer response, and both pre and post-purchase in equal weighting, based on the 40 elements that scientific studies suggest are most important to customer experience.

Here’s what they found…






The results? Fashion is on fire

man in jacket
From the barometer analysis, it’s clear that the standard is extremely high. The retailers are offering exemplary customer experiences, and have high scores to reflect the strength of their offering.

We see that both Adidas and Nike, two of the sportswear and athleisure fashion brands, were given above average barometer scores. In recent years, both brands have accelerated their plans to increase focus on D2C, and have enviable scale and brand affinity. It’s unsurprising that these two trailblazers, alongside international behemoths H&M and Tk Maxx, are the international retailers with highest barometer scores.

With an overall range of just 7.1, there’s not much to split the top and the bottom of the barometer. There’s an admirable level of consistency across the ten leading retailers that were analysed.

Whilst it’s reassuring that the neuroscience analysis shows relatively consistent scores, that also poses a challenge. In a market this crowded, and when customer acquisition costs five times more than customer retention, competitive edge is absolutely business critical. No-one wants, or can afford, to blend into the pack.

So where is the opportunity?

Girl on mobile device
Pre-purchase and post-purchase were given 50/50 weighting in the analysis. When we look at the pre-purchase and post-purchase barometer split side by side, post-purchase scores are, on average, higher than pre-purchase. This suggests that the delivery and returns experience is likely to create a more positive response in customers, if compared to the pre-purchase experience.

This is in line with expectations, as delivery and returns is a space we’d expect retailers to be excelling – due to the overall opportunity for innovation, as well as the risk of reputational damage and the threat of customer service operational impact. Plus, McKinsey found that last mile can be responsible for over 50% of the total logistics cost – so there is a big price tag attached to getting it wrong.

High post-purchase scoring shows that neuroscientists see this as a strong area. This is promising – and suggests that expectation is likely to be very high as a result. But, if many of the retailers are offering similar experiences that are good but not outstanding, there could be some risk of stagnation. Although scores are good, if retailers are performing well and rest on their laurels, or if customers are having their expectations met but not exceeded, shoppers will very quickly opt for the delivery experiences that are standout.

Breaking down the barometer further, the post-purchase experience scores have one outlier – a front-running retailer, who excelled during our mystery shopping experience and scored highly during the neuroscientific analysis. This retailer brings the post-purchase average barometer score up massively. The rest of the retailer scores are bunched together, with a range of only 8.2.

Borometer score

We would expect this to be an area with many varied experiences, innovations and big scoring gaps. But retailers still have some catching up – or, more accurately, spreading out – to do when it comes to making their DX a point of differentiation. Post-purchase is the only physical touchpoint between the brand and the ecommerce customer.

Changes to payment offering, product search or basket functionality often fall into two categories – high development resource for large journey change, or quick fix for marginal gain. There are a number of ways to shape the pre-purchase experience, all of which are influential to the overall customer experience. But, in post-purchase, there are some key changes that can be made once and then can significantly, and continually, ensure an ongoing enhancement in offering.

The reality is – post-purchase changes carry more impact, compared to high-effort low-return marginal gains before the buy button. With the independent scientists calculating that delivery experience alone makes up 35% of the overall customer journey experience, this is the place we feel retailers need to focus their efforts.

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