Consumers today no doubt demand better experiences when they shop, but they also want better brand loyalty from the businesses they frequent.
A sizeable 75 percent of consumers think businesses could do more to garner loyalty, according to a recent study conducted by international phone service firm TollFreeForwarding.com.
“The changing commerce landscape and a shift in consumer’s values have led to higher expectations than ever before,” the survey noted.
The connected consumer can shop all the time, from anywhere and get goods faster than ever—which means brands have to do more than just bank on human interaction in stores winning shoppers over, they need to foster a relationship between themselves and the consumer, no matter the platform.
So what’s the key way consumers want brands to encourage loyalty?
More than one in four shoppers surveyed said discounts and coupons would keep them coming back to stores. And consumers want those deals to discount shipping rates and come via platforms they frequent, like social media.
According to the survey, there are five common values consumers consider likely to gain their loyalty: increased value, honesty, corporate social responsibility, consistent quality and personal extras.
When it comes to personal extras, consumers want to feel like a brand is doing something just for them, tailoring its offerings so to speak.
In providing an example of prime personal extras, one shopper surveyed said Netflix sent out a get well card when they temporarily suspended their account due to an extended illness. Another said they received a birthday card and discounts for loyalty, which made them feel special.
Brands can no longer get by as faceless corporations—consumers want companies to be conscientious, responsible and caring, but brands aren’t tapping into all of their opportunities to promote loyalty, according to the study.
Chip Bell, a business marketing expert told TollFreeForwarding, “Effective competing starts with great customer intelligence—not just the usual superficial marketing research but psychographics and socio-graphics too. It requires thinking like an anthropologist and consumer psychologist, not just like a marketer. Smart brands know that building a core of customers who are groupie-like (like the followers of Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift) provide a beta group for testing attraction techniques and partnership-building methods.”
Even for click only companies, rather than brick-and-mortar, the principles are still the same.
“‘Dating’ customers takes a willingness to go-to-school on what matters most to them and crafting tailored means to effectively reward their allegiance and advocacy,” Bell said.
In the study, which looked at 2,000 U.S. consumers, TollFreeForwarding found that women (78 percent) are a bit more loyal to brands than men (75 percent), and that loyalty increases with age. Nearly 80 percent of consumers over 55 said they are most loyal to one brand, compared to just two-thirds of 18-24 year olds.
Overall, nine out of 10 surveyed said no brand has done anything extraordinary to keep them coming back.