Footwear retailers must match their strengths to the purchasing priorities of their target customers if they want to engage them in the shopping process, according to new research.

The 'Footwear Retail Landscape Report' from global information company The NPD Group takes an in-depth look at what goes into purchase decisions being made by today's shoppers.

Part of NPD's 'The Retail & Brand Landscape Series 2013', it shows the five most important priorities when shoppers are purchasing footwear are: "is a store for me"; "is where I buy clothing"; "carries the styles I want"; "where my friends shop"; "has brand names I want."

In the year since the research was last carried out, the importance of having the right brand names has risen up the rankings, along with "is easy to shop," and "is known for great shoes."

"When it comes to footwear, it is clear that not all channels are equal," said NPD's chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen. "Depending on the consumer shopping, different touch points are critical for engaging them."

Shopping priorities also differ according to retail channel. DSW and Zappos are perceived to have the styles and brand names consumers want, while Macy's and Nordstrom offer multiple categories and can draw on the desire to be a place where the consumer buys clothing.

"Consumer priorities are the foundation of the overall shopping process, which varies widely depending on the retailer and what they have to offer the consumer," Cohen added. "A particular retailer's ability to merge their set of strengths with their target customers' priorities is key."