The shifting retail landscape is growing the disconnect between companies and consumers. Retailers often think providing customers with enhanced rewards and points loyalty programs creates a stronger bond with the company. But it’s becoming more challenging to earn the trust of shoppers and keep them loyal—especially when retailers fall short on convenience and personalized service. Consumers feel stressed because the cost of goods is rising faster than the amount of money in their paychecks. The situation also makes shoppers less forgiving when they have a negative experience. A recent Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Survey highlights several key points about why consumers switch brands or retailers.
- Seventy-one percent of consumers have switched brands in the past year
- Forty-eight percent switched to receive better service
- Forty-four percent want more convenience.
- Thirty-four percent have changing needs and expectations
Although most people have signed up for at least four loyalty programs, almost two-thirds redeem rewards once every three months or less. The survey indicates the primary motivation for loyalty is receiving excellent service.
- 94 percent of shoppers are more likely to buy again
- 83 percent are more loyal when they have consistent experiences in every department
Businesses with loyalty programs based on rewards may need to reevaluate their programs to place a higher value on measuring customer experience versus redeeming rewards and points. This approach fundamentally changes how companies invest in loyalty and measure results.
Customer Experience Drives Loyalty
Consistent communication and crafting personalized messages based on purchasing behavior is critical. Help consumers easily navigate the shopping journey to locate products they want or will enjoy. It’s always best to offer shoppers multiple options to avoid potential problems. When selecting products, consider age, buying habits, and other demographics. Retailers can still provide rewards and discounts, but finding what they want quickly and easily transactions is what will motivate shoppers to return.
Large retailers collect data from multiple channels using a customer data platform (CPD). Although these systems are becoming less expensive than a few years ago, the price points still may need to be more affordable for the average hardware store. However, many of the insights home improvement stores require can be extracted from the point-of-sale system. Analyze the data to find specific areas of interest for your customers and incorporate the information into the customer experience. Figure out ways to use your loyalty app to keep customers coming back.
Incorporate New Strategies
Measuring loyalty based on consumer experience instead of rewards requires different strategies. It’s essential to review the correct metrics to ensure progress is being made. Retailers should start by identifying their best customers since they are the most loyal. Are they making multiple purchases during a specific time frame? What are they buying? These shoppers have a Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) that shows what they spend in your store annually. Understanding their buying habits will help you personalize messaging and the shopping experience.
Getting customer feedback on purchases, delivery, and service is always a good idea. Use your loyalty app to survey customer satisfaction levels. Prompt customers to complete the survey by offering points and discounts on purchases.
Check out competitors to locate the weaknesses in their service. Are the checkout lines long? Is there a need for more staff? Do the salespeople lack enthusiasm? These shortcomings allow you to differentiate your store by offering shoppers a consistently better experience.
- Find areas to out-compete for the competition
- Build loyalty by providing a more seamless shopping experience
- Seek alternative solutions to problems that annoy customers
- Prioritize conveniences that give your operation an advantage
Changing the focus of the loyalty program and fine-tuning the metrics that point to service excellence rather than points and rewards takes time. However, every time customer satisfaction scores rise, you will know the new strategy is working, and you are on the right track.