What’s Happening to Brand Loyalty?
In this, the age of infinite options, the digitally savvy consumer is truly in control. This means unquestioning brand loyalty no longer dominates as it did decades ago. Back when product information was relatively hard to come by, consumers knew that the best route to purchase satisfaction was to trust brands and stay loyal to them for life. Their pre-purchase research was limited to the newspaper, magazine, and TV ads they saw, and sometimes a fancy full-color brochure. Therefore, from groceries to apparel, to autos and virtually all other product categories, consumers stayed true to their trusted brands. There was much less to choose from, and they even less information on the items they did have to choose from.
Those days are long gone. Today, product choices seem endless and the information about those products is everywhere. Today’s consumers are well armed with the knowledge that they need in order to make choices that fit their desires, but trust is still a key factor. Consumers demand product and vendor quality, and they rely on social media and other online feedback to get information on who’s trustworthy and who’s not. Needless to say, today’s brands have to work extremely hard to attract and hang onto new customers.
To market your own brand successfully, you need to understand these five key characteristics of today’s shopping environment:
Brand Loyalty Is Winnable
If you’re trying to attract new customers you’ll be happy to hear that 73% of today’s shoppers are willing to consider a new brand. The decline in brand loyalty can be blamed on product quality, a lack of selection, or better prices elsewhere. A consumer might even come in contact with a new brand with superior customer service, and instantly be swayed into making a purchase, not thinking twice about the competing brand they may have purchased from prior. Brands that offer incentives such as easy delivery or a flexible return policy can get a step ahead in attracting a consumer. People are simply too busy for a bad shopping experience these days.
Grocery and Apparel Shoppers Easiest to Attract
Not surprisingly, grocery and apparel shoppers are the most willing to try something new. There are simply so many brands available now that the temptation to try something new is always there. In fashion, direct-to-consumer brands such as Everlane, Warby Parker, Casper, and Rent the Runway are vastly appealing to consumers. Not surprisingly, consumers are also easily drawn to new brands of consumer electronics, health and beauty. This is the new state of retail.
Brand Values Make a Definite Difference
While price and selection are important, let’s remember that brand values are more important to consumers than ever. Today’s shopper is often very attracted to a brand’s core values and whether they align with their own personal beliefs; so much so that 51% of shoppers say that brand values affect their purchase decisions. Therefore, those values are often a key element in brand marketing. From food to fashion to fitness, a brand’s values give consumers something they can believe in and support.
Plenty of Paths to Loyalty
Many factors drive consumers to a purchase. Low price matters, but that alone isn’t enough. Today it pays to use a combination of purchase tools to attract your customers. Price, selection, customer service and location can be key drivers for some, but uniqueness, reward programs and attractive payment options can be just as crucial.
Brand-Discovery Options Abound
Product information is everywhere, whether it’s online and offline, but so are consumers. Therefore, a strong cross-platform presence is a necessity. Facebook, YouTube, and websites are all great awareness builders, but they’re just the start. Are you on Instagram and Pinterest? Twitter, Snapchat? How’s your blog presence, and do you work with influencers? Is your E-mail Marketing up to speed? A well-balanced channel lineup can work wonders for your brand awareness.
The key to driving brand loyalty with today’s consumers is giving them a seamless shopping experience they’ll want to keep coming back to again and again. When you’re easy to find, shop with, and get help from after the sale, you become the brand that’s remembered for future shopping. When planting the seeds for customer satisfaction, brand loyalty blossoms.