Guest post by Martina Poehler, Director of Marketing at Fresh Relevance
As consumers, we are all spoilt for choice when making a purchase. This makes it increasingly difficult for brands to foster loyalty. Retail marketers are challenged to not just meet but exceed customer expectations along their path to purchase.
But what are the factors that can really move the needle and effectively attract and maintain repeat customers? To get answers, Fresh Relevance teamed up with YouGov and surveyed 1,000 US consumers to identify the factors that constitute loyalty for the modern-day shopper – from the types of marketing emails they prefer to their favorite shipping services.
The most surprising finding?
How demanding the majority of consumers are, and just how little it takes for them to turn to a competitor. So let’s take a look at what shoppers want most in exchange for their loyalty.
Tailored communication captures repeat customers
We all know that personalizing marketing communications is vital for retail success. One in four consumers is more likely to be loyal to a brand that sends them marketing messages that are tailored to them. But where to start? Don’t think you can tick off the personalization check box if you call customers by their first name in marketing emails – that’s “mail merge 101”. In fact, more than one in three consumers don’t care about this at all. Rather, shoppers want content based on their behavior – like tailored product recommendations and post-purchase guides.
Convenience and loyalty go hand in hand
Ensure you’ve covered all the convenience basics, as almost half of consumers say a frustrating online experience hurts their overall opinion of a brand. It could even cost you revenue — 60% would stop buying from an online store if the website was difficult to navigate.
However, it’s also important to look further than the basics to offer a convenient shopping experience. One third of shoppers are more likely to purchase if the website helps them imagine how an item will look in real life. So if you’re selling products online that people like to try on or out before purchasing, consider incorporating 360-degree video or emerging tech like AR to help shoppers imagine the item on them or in their home.
Physical stores heighten the experience – and, in return, loyalty
If you are a multichannel retailer, your physical stores will play a vital role in the loyalty puzzle as they open up opportunities to enhance the digital experience. Despite the convenience of e-commerce, nearly half (43%) of consumers want to try products such as apparel, furniture, and technology in-store before they buy online. And nearly one in four would be more likely to make a purchase from a pure player if they first visited a physical pop-up store of the brand.
Ease of services
The big e-commerce players are constantly pushing the bar with the introduction of new services such as one-hour delivery or checkout-free stores. But what are the services that really matter to shoppers?
Consumers value quick and easy shipping and returns. They named free returns (69%), free two-day shipping (68%) and free pickup for returns (65%) as their favorite services and aren’t going to return to a retailer who couldn’t deliver fast enough or made them jump through hoops to make a return. Media darling drone delivery came out last by the way (9%).
It’s vital to be buttoned-up across all of these four primary areas while placing emphasis on the most promising aspects for your unique brand and audience. By making customers feel valued, you lay the groundwork for repeat, long-term business and the ROI will be undeniable.
You can access the full 2018 Loyalty Forecast here.