Brand loyalty is vital to the success of a company. Market research firm Ipsos reports that acquiring a new customer costs five times more than retaining a current customer. For the consumer, brand loyalty sets the standard by which all other brands are judged, and it has an impact on the shopping experience.
What factors into store loyalty?
According to statistics compiled by Access Development, a merchant network company, the top factor contributing to brand loyalty is likeability, followed closely by trust. Another driver of loyalty is value. The importance of particular store loyalty factors can vary based on demographics. Women tend to be more loyal than men, and millennials are more brand loyal than any other age group. For Generation K, those born between 1995 and 2002, personalization and fun were cited as influential brand loyalty factors. Millennials cited brand engagement as a factor likely to make them loyal customers. In addition, quality and consistency are significant drivers of brand loyalty. Among U.S. mothers, for example, 48% say they are loyal to a particular brand, with nearly 60% of those citing quality and consistency as factors.
A Huffington Post article reported that 97% of consumers cite customer service as a crucial factor in brand loyalty. RightNow Technologies, which specializes in customer experience solutions, reports that 89% of consumers say they have switched to a competitor after a poor customer service experience. A 2016 customer engagement index reported that 47% of customers say they have switched to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service. Customers are loyal to stores where staff is available to assist customers — not push products — and where they feel valued and appreciated. In addition, consumers want to be able to easily navigate the store, and be able to touch and feel the products.
According to the American Marketing Association, brand loyalty also is driven by customer expectations, dependability, and familiarity. Consumers will stick with a brand out of habit and because they believe the brand will keep delivering the experience they want. Convenience also is a factor: Consumers will stick with a brand because it’s easier than making the effort to switch.
The shopping experience in stores where the customer is not loyal to the brand
A consumer’s shopping experience and brand loyalty is closely connected to the standards to which the consumer has become accustomed. Presentation and store layout, for example, of an unfamiliar store negatively impacts the consumer’s experience. The result is the unfamiliar store fails to meet their expectations, and they find it difficult to do business with the brand, leading to frustration that may cause them to shorten their shopping trip. Customers who are not loyal to a brand are less likely to try new products.
How stores can change or create brand loyalty
Customer experience, a key brand differentiator, is the most important factor in creating brand loyalty, and is expected to continue to grow. A study by the Aberdeen Group showed that a strong customer experience resulted in an 89% customer retention rate.
One way to create brand loyalty is to provide a unique brand experience. Consumers are more likely to try new products if the brand creates a great experience for them and more willing to become brand-loyal. Brands must develop a strategy that will help them stand out from competitors, taking into account the customer’s journey both in-store and online. Customers are loyal to brands that offer simplicity, convenience, value, and efficiency.
Brand loyalty drives repeat purchases. Consumers will stick with a brand out of habit and because they believe the brand will keep delivering the experience they want. Providing great customer service helps ensure that your customer won’t switch to a competitor.
Brand loyalty changes our shopping experience. Brands and retailers alike should consistently offering a quality product, along with first-rate customer service, improves the customer’s shopping experience, builds trust, and improves brand loyalty.