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Only 15% of British consumers believe strongly that it pays to be loyal to their favourite brands, according to a new survey by Epsilon.

However if brands can offer what consumers want – which half of respondents identified as being value and quality in the products or services they are offered – they have a good chance of encouraging customers to remain loyal.

The research, which was conducted among 419 British respondents, also shows that the recession appears to have made UK shoppers more frugal.

More than half (57%) of respondents said that they will shop around to find the best deal and just (15%) are prepared to pay the premium for luxury products and new-to-market products.

Looking at what drives repeat purchases, just over a quarter (28%) of British customers see rewards programmes as an incentive to secure their loyalty.

By contrast, value and quality in the products or services offered by retailers are deemed the most important criteria to earn loyalty from half of consumers.

Preferential customer service, good after sales service, convenience, and new personalised offerings or products also play important roles in shaping loyalty for up to one-third of consumers.

For more information on this topic, check out our blog posts on why loyal customers are key to online growth and how mobile can be used to drive consumer loyalty.

What makes people switch?

But despite the aforementioned focus on price and shopping around for the best deals, when respondents were asked what would make them swap their regular retailer for a competitor brand the most popular answers were related to service rather than pricing.

In clothing, grocery, financial services, and travel, less than a quarter of respondents picked non-competitive pricing as being most important factor for making them leave their favourite company. 

The other important considerations were experience led: difficult return/refund policies, irresponsive to requests/complaints, bad sales/customer service, and incorrect billing.

Fulfilment and returns are an important part of driving loyalty online, as it’s no coincidence that some of the most successful online retailers offer free returns.

High delivery costs are frequently cited as a key cause of basket abandonment so it’s logical that making customers pay to return items is also going to cause them to shop elsewhere in future.

This is a topic we’ve previously covered on the blog, listing 14 best practice tips for how retailers should handle online returns.

David Moth

Published 21 May, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

1687 more posts from this author

Comments (2)


Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum.co.uk

Who's to blame for only 15%... often it's the Marketers! With the unsatiable hunt for new customers... can often ignore existing ones...

Hows this for treating your customer uncivilly: in the Banking sector, you open an account because it has a good interest rate. Months later the rate drops to low, but you see the same bank advertise a new acount with a differnt name, and a good rate.

But ... the deal is not for existing customers!

How's that for killing client loyalty! Well done Banks !

over 3 years ago


Philip Aggrey

As per the comment above. Most companies and traditional marketers always chase the holy grail of new customer acquisition, even in saturated markets, and then completely neglect them once they've been 'won'. Time and again, company after company I've worked for or with make this mistake. As a result of inattention to existing customers, the fight is always on to find new customers to replace those who have left just to maintain market share.

I have tried hard through my career to fight for budgets to be divided equally between new customer acquisition and customer retention, but unfortunately, the latter is not 'spectacular' enough for the career marketers out to make a name for themselves by promising the earth in the pursuit of market share. But if you do not act proactively to retain existing customers, your market share will erode and your bottom line will deteriorate simply because it costs so much to find new customers (e.g. higher interest rates for new savers or to advertise special deals for new customers on TV).

The oft repeated phrase 'it costs 10 times as much to find a new customer than it does to retain an existing one' is a complete tautology. It is only so because marketers spend too much money trying to find new customers to replace the ones they p155ed off.

over 3 years ago

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