As a business, you may often evaluate your return on investments to keep track of your current and potential investments. Consumers today are also adopting the ‘ROI’ culture by choosing to shop with brands or retailers which offer them with more than just great products. What added-value are you offering your consumers other than your immediate product/services? As consumers are presented with great options today, businesses which provide added-value instantly differentiate with competition and earn consumers’ attention.
In our last post, we introduced Consumer-First measurement and Brand Tracking Research done by tracking the performance of your brand, finding gaps and exploiting opportunities to win your consumers’ loyalty. While it seems rather straightforward, consumer loyalty can be a challenge to retain. To understand consumer loyalty better, we recently conducted a survey to identify and learn how consumers’ come to favour and be loyal to a brand.
In our study of Loyalty And Rewards Programmes In Malaysia, 92% out of 1,029 nationally representative Malaysians said they are currently signed up for a loyalty/reward programme and are active users of the programme. We dug deeper to evaluate elements in which consumers appreciate most out of loyalty/reward programmes. Emphasizing the Consumer-First mindset, we found five key goals to focus on in efforts to create long-lasting consumer loyalty.
1. Be on the top of your consumers’ minds.
Consumers are presented with an enormity of choices today. While your business may offer unique products or solutions, your customers will only remember you if you have found ways to be a top of the mind brand. How are you standing out amidst the myriad of your competitors?
Adopting the Consumer-First mindset, the most effective way to be on top of your consumers’ minds is to understand the behaviour of your consumer segment. Find out where your consumers are and the best ways to communicate with them.
Social media (61%) is the largest source in which consumers are learning about loyalty/reward programmes. Other sources include word-of-mouth, physical store visits, information booths at shopping malls and ads on websites. While there are many ways to educate consumers about your services, finding out their preferred communicative methods would create a more substantial and significant impact.
Additionally, have you created suitable and convenient methods for your consumers to use your service? Are the options which you have you provided aligned with what your consumers prefer and perceive as convenient?
76% of consumers tell us that they prefer to keep track of their loyalty/reward points via a mobile app, while 53% are in favour of having the points printed on a receipt each time they make a purchase, and 46% say they would like to receive email communications from the product/service provider. The least preferred medium is having a loyalty card that is rubber-stamped after each purchase.
The effectiveness of your loyalty/rewards programme is linked to the ability of your brand to provide the convenience your consumers seeks. Providing relevant or even expensive rewards is added-value, but if consumers lack means to redeem or be in contact with your brand, this will reduce their efforts to interact with your brand.
2. Make what is important to your consumers, important to you.
Consumers seek value above anything else. The definitive meaning of value, however, would differ among your consumer segments.
73% of consumers say a business which offers special discounted prices for its members is an essential criterion for them when signing up for a loyalty/reward programme. Only 15% find the flexibility in returning products or requesting refunds significant.
Making sure that your loyalty & rewards programme is built around your consumers’ preferences makes it more effective to attract customers to want to join the programme.
3. Show loyalty to gain loyalty.
A majority (86%) of consumers shared that they prefer to shop in a store which has a loyalty/rewards programme, while only 14% say it does not matter. Loyalty programmes no longer work as novelties as consumers are now willing to go out of their way to travel to a store which will provide them with added-value. This behaviour is consistent regardless of the purchase medium, online or offline..
For offline shoppers, 83% say they are willing to travel to the store just to redeem loyalty points. While the convenience of distance and location used to be a criterion in deciding where to shop, consumers are now looking for retailers that understand their needs and display genuine care for them. Consumers too will go the extra mile if they are provided with the value they seek.
85% of online shoppers say they would consistently select the same online store just to collect loyalty points.
When we asked consumers what attracted them to sign up for a loyalty/rewards programme, only 13% say it is for the prestige status, while 77% look to redeem their loyalty points for tangible benefits such as free hotel stays, discounts and other benefits. Consumer demands are more specific today, they are seeking means to reduce the cost of living and invest in programmes/services which can inherently provide larger value with lower cost for leisure activities. Is your business making efforts to meet consumers’ demands?
4. Humanise your brand with excellent customer service.
66% of consumers we engaged with say they would shop in a store with higher-priced items which offered great customer and after-sales service. Consumers appreciate businesses which display an understanding of their priorities and needs. The value of personalised customer service has increased. Consumers are more inclined to trust brands which take time to get to know them and understand what they need the most.
Consumer demands have elevated, as tolerance for inadequate service has also decreased. Every day, consumers are sharing a significant amount of insight into their shopping behaviours as well as personal information with brands. Due to this, expectations have increased for more and continued improved customised solutions.
5. Establish an open and honest relationship with your consumers.
We asked consumers what they would do if their favourite and trusted retailer/shop/service provider were hacked, and their personal information was compromised. 30% said they would only trust the retailer again if they shared in detail the precautions they have taken to overcome the situation. 25%, on the other hand, said they would trust completely trust that the retailer is rectifying the situation. While not large, but a significant 21% say they would no longer feel comfortable doing business with the retailer.
Consumer loyalty is a two-way street. Creating and maintaining the trust of your consumers is imperative to sustain a long-lasting business. As consumers are presented with a stellar amount of choices, competition can be stiff. A company which is willing to be transparent with their consumers, will, in the long run, earn consumer trust and survive even in times of crisis.
The Consumer-First Approach Creates and Sustains Brand Loyalty
Consistently placing your consumers in your decision-making process will drive your business always to be aligned with your consumer needs.
- As change is the only constant, your consumer needs too will change from time to time. Keeping up with their demands and especially everyday needs will place you one step ahead of your competitors as you will be able to understand and fulfill their expectations, as well as provide them with what they need over what they want.
- Place emphasis on consistently being aware of how consumers see your brand. As new players enter the market and your competitor pool grows, your brand may lose its attraction over the "new kid in town". Ensure you are consistently keeping up with the market growth and developments in consumer experience.
Vase.ai regularly does studies on a myriad of topics aiming to identify current and trending public perceptions and beliefs. If you are keen to learn more or have a topic you would like to perform research on; please do contact us for a consultation, you can visit our website at www.vase.ai.