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What we learned from analyzing 350K customer reviews of major fashion brands

To investigate public perception of fashion brands, we analyzed over 350,000 customer reviews and applied Thematic to find insights in the data. We chose several fast fashion and luxury brands that compete in the US fashion world, including Ralph Lauren, H&M, Forever21, Charlotte Russe and Lulus.

We've focused on how customers perceive these brands, using data from analyzing their reviews. We want to know which brand has the best quality clothes, and which brand is known for outstanding customer service? But let’s start with why these insights matter in the first place.

Why insights from customer reviews matter for brands

Technology has revolutionized the way we shop. At a click of a button, you can shop to your heart’s content, and buy anything from anywhere. And while this means retailers can reach more customers than ever before, it also means brands need to compete for customer love on a global scale. Those who aren’t attuned to customer needs will fail.

The way brands interact with customers has changed, too. Back in the day, you would need to run a focus group to figure out what your customers think. It would take weeks to collect and analyze the data. Today, thousands of reviews roam freely online, allowing brands to see what customers like and dislike. If only they would listen!

Example of a customer review

The vast amount of data that exists out there can be difficult to digest. Fortunately, feedback analytics software provides an easy way to analyze customer reviews and understand them at scale.

At Thematic, we pull deep insights from free-text customer feedback, cross-correlating themes with satisfaction scores and purchase data. Below are some initial insights we’ve found in publicly available reviews.

Which fashion brand has the best quality clothes?

Quality is one of the most popular themes amongst the customers of clothing brands.

The graph below shows all the brands listed by perceived quality. Four brands are clearly ahead of the rest: Rag & Bone, J Crew, Ralph Lauren, and online retailer Lulus.

Several clothing and fashion brands ranked by perceived quality

Fast-fashion brands are known for cheaply manufactured clothing “designed to fall apart”, but according to online reviews, customers actually perceive quality differently. H&M clearly outperforms Forever21 and Charlotte Russe when it comes to perception of good quality.

Lulus have realized that quality and ethics matters to their target market and have included a “Made in the USA” section on their website.

Interestingly the luxury brand Versace is well behind many of the cheaper brands for quality!

Which brand has the best variety of clothes and shoes?

When it comes to variety, the majority of the brands have an equal amount of positive and negative reviews.

More of Lulus' customers mention variety in comparison to other brands. But of their negative reviews, only two mention variety - so overall it's a neutral to positive factor.

Volume of reviews mentioning variety

And when it comes to shoes, Charlotte Russe has four times as many happy customers who like their shoe selection as any other brand:

Graph showing positive reviews about Charlotte Russe's shoe selection

However, H&M have an issue with variety! More specifically, people mention the variety of sizing and colors, as indicated by this summary:

Negative comments about variety for H&M

In fact, sizing is what drives their customer satisfaction down the most, and with it most likely their revenue.

Impact of sizing for H&M

Sizing overall tends to be a negative driver for most brands. The only brand that has a neutral impact for this theme is Rag & Bone.

Impact of sizing for Rag & Bone

Here's a summary of the positive things Rag & Bone customers had to say about sizing:

Mentions of sizing for Rag & Bone
Mentions of sizing for Rag & Bone

Which brand has the best customer service?

Finally, another key theme driving the satisfaction score is customer service.

Graph showing customer service

Lulus comes up top in this category. Not a single review of Lulus mentioned customer service in negative light. And it’s the number one theme that drives their score up.

Graph showing Lulu's percentage of 5 star reviews

The new way of benchmarking brands, powered by AI

Market research companies charge an arm and a leg for competitor benchmarking. In most cases, all they provide is a dashboard of scores, and no real actionable insights.

With the help of the latest AI technology, such as Thematic’s algorithms, brands can pull deeper, actionable insights from customer review data, as shown here.

Tracking public perception of different brands over time can be as easy as clicking a button, with the right tools. At Thematic, we can run a similar analysis for you, including your key competitors, to help you discover what you’re doing well and what you could improve, as well as any market gaps.

Keen to see a demo of this data, or your own customer reviews or survey responses? It’s as simple as requesting a demo on your data.

Ready to scale customer insights from feedback?

Our experts will show you how Thematic works, how to discover pain points and track the ROI of decisions. To access your free trial, book a personal demo today.

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