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The Consumer Approach To Loyalty

Acxiom Blogs Last Updated December 12th, 2017
The Consumer Approach To Loyalty

Market research is too often written in the language of marketers.

To understand the language consumers really use to describe their interactions with brands the DMA conducted a primary qualitative piece with 1,000 consumers to uncover the terminology being used by shoppers to discuss their retail and engagement experiences.

The research, for example, found that consumers do not have a definitive word for shops, brands or e-commerce sites, and that consumers use the word “item” twice as often as the word “product” when talking about a shopping experience.

Using the findings, we designed a quantitative survey to delve deeper into consumer attitudes towards retail brands (excluding Supermarkets/FMCG), and their interactions with them. This report lays out the key findings from this research around consumer loyalty.

In the first section, we outline how consumers perceive their loyalty towards brands:

  • Are shoppers doggedly ruthless in their search for the perfect offer, or do habits play a stronger role in their approach? 
  • Does what we buy impact our willingness to shop around? 
  • And how does all this impact brands’ ability to engage consumers with promotions?

Habits persist

A majority of consumers today admit they often are habitual shoppers, with just over half agreeing that they would tend to use the same shops, brands and sites rather than looking for alternatives.

Further, some 43% affirm they buy from brands they know even when they know they could be getting a cheaper deal elsewhere.

The tendency towards sticking to certain brands is stronger when people make everyday purchases – 64% of consumers agree they stick with brands they know in this context, with little variation in agreement levels among age groups and gender.

For important purchases, it is still a majority (52%) who agree they choose brands they know, but it is younger consumers who are especially likely to agree (68% of 16-24s) This is the space where brands can truly establish themselves as shortcuts for quality, convenience and good service.

Maximising mindsets

Such habitual and consumer loyalty behaviours may come at odds when we consider the high sensitivity consumers display towards prices, deals and competing offers.

An overwhelming 8 in 10 agree that when they make important purchase decisions they spend time comparing prices, and 76% agree that they are willing to spend time researching items/products in order to get the best value.

More, ubiquitous price comparison, review sites and price/promotion scanning tools now available at consumers’ fingertips mean the search for the best value is ever more efficient and easy to accomplish.

While people may often revert to habit and choose brands they are familiar with, the desire to optimise purchases is now almost a default aspiration for all, placing a constant pressure on brands to reaffirm their value and reconfirm consumers’ willingness to buy from them again.

In this context, brands need to be easily searchable/comparable and importantly need to understand where consumers are researching and how.

Brands that are findable and consistently persuade that they are the ones offering the best value and deals are those that will be more likely to fall into a consumer’s habitual basket of go-to brands.

DMA Customer Engagement 2016 CTA