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Loyalty landscape changing amid economic woes

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Discounting is a primary concern for UK consumers, with 62 per cent agreeing they are more concerned with the cost of shopping than they are about social and environmental issues, according to figures released today.

In an attempt to combat economic woes, as 44 per cent of 2,018 respondents believe the economy will worsen over the next 12 months, Brits are increasingly turning to loyalty schemes to receive offers or rewards while out shopping.

While loyalty cards have long been a part of the retail landscape, research company Ipsos Mori who conducted the research in conjunction with information management company The Logic Group, found that technology is driving loyalty as customer attitudes have changed over the last six months.

Receiving loyalty offers via mobile phones is increasingly popular with 13 per cent of adults now preferring to gain rewards via this medium while 7 per cent intend to do so in the next year.

“At a time when businesses are feeling the economic pressures, understanding what consumers demand in return for their loyalty and the role new technologies can play, is going to be vital for developing successful in-store strategies,” said Antony Jones, The Logic Group CEO.

“Over the next 1-2 years we expect the use of mobile interactions in-store to grow as more NFC-enabled handsets hit the market”.

Social media also continues to play a major role in how shoppers interact with brands, as 22 per cent of those surveyed visited the Facebook page of a company they are loyal to, while nine per cent of adults have received a loyalty offer via a social networking site in the last six months.

“From a customer point of view, social media is changing the way customers interact with companies,” explained Jones.

“For businesses, using social media platforms such as Facebook adds another channel to customer interactions and greater business opportunity to influence and engage with customers along their purchasing journey; whether that’s greater availability of information, a more relevant and customer-friendly tone to communications, responding quickly to an enquiry, or offering a targeted loyalty deals to followers.”

British consumers feel most loyal towards banks and building societies with 66 per cent claiming to be most loyal to these while 62 per cent feel most loyal to supermarkets. This follows contrary news today that consumers would prefer to bank with high street retailers than traditional banks.

Half of 15-24-year-olds feel loyal to supermarkets compared to 71 per cent of 55-64-year-olds, though 68 per cent of shoppers are loyalty scheme members, highlighting the strong position of the grocery market.

Commenting on the findings, Simon Atkinson, Assistant CEO of Ipsos Mori, said: “This year’s results are a reminder that, in the eyes of customers, loyalty is about more than just emotional attachment. Customers don’t necessarily expect something for nothing.

“But they expect recognition for showing loyalty to services, products or brands. What’s less clear is just how quickly new technologies will change the landscape, and in what ways.

“We’ve all seen the growth of high-speed internet, smartphones, social networking and apps. But it’s still early days in terms of what this means for loyalty.

“Consumers aren’t thinking about what’s possible; there is an opportunity for providers to serve up a compelling offer – those who do this right will see bottom-line benefit.”

Published on Wednesday 29 August by Editorial Assistant

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