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Consumers can only feel genuine loyalty for three brands - report

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21st Sep 2014
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It’s the biggest concern for businesses in even the unlikeliest of sectors – retaining customers and keeping them loyal to the brand.

According to Emarsys, this is far easier to achieve with physical stores than online, where loyalty is proving a difficult beast to grapple.

79% of consumers, in fact, state they are more likely to maintain a long-lasting affinity with brands that have a physical presence, yet even then, the maximum number of brands they are likely to stay ‘truly’ loyal to is just three.

The study claims that for ecommerce providers looking to foster this type of loyalty, the key is successfully developing a personalisation strategy, with 42% of consumers stating that good personalised interactions with brands online is the most likely thing to keep them ‘coming back’.

Yet, according to John Pincott, managing director of Shopatron, very few online-only brands have come to terms with how to develop a truly successful personalisation strategy for their customers.

And, confusing the matter further is the rate at which online shopping habits are currently evolving: while two-thirds of consumers (64%) claim to regularly buy products online, 21% say they feel the experience in physical stores is better, with service and advice, such as recommendations (21%), all key influencers in them developing more loyalty than with an online-only brand.

“Our study shows that every consumer has a small group of brands they truly care about, and breaking into that group can be particularly challenging for online-only brands,” said Steven Ledgerwood, UK managing director of Emarsys.

“Consumers want a relationship with their favourite brands, and to be valued and understood.  The key to achieving this for brands is personalisation. They need to make better use of the data customers share with them to target offers and ideas that are truly relevant.”

The good news is, consumers that stated they would to become more loyal to online brands appear to have clear expectations of what type of personalised offers were likely to increase their loyalty, with 29% of consumers wanting preferential services and offers tailored around birthdays and anniversaries.

“The business benefits of this are tangible,” Ledgerwood adds. “Two-thirds (65%of those surveyed say they buy regularly from brands they trust, a quarter (27%) open all the communications received and one in ten (11%) act on brand recommendations.”

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