Study finds insecure customer loyalty for retailers

A new study from Salesforce has exposed what it says is insecure customer loyalty for retailers.

Salesforce has released the fifth edition of its State of Connected Customers report, in partnership with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), which reveals that 61% of customers have switched brands at least once during the year last.

The report, which surveyed 16,936 consumers and trade shoppers from 29 countries, including 654 from across A/NZ, analyzes how and to what extent customer expectations and behaviors have changed amid the global pandemic and new digital-centric customer engagement landscape.

The study found that 42% of customers have switched brands in the past year in search of better customer service, with 51% saying they feel sales departments, service and marketing do not share information with each other. It reveals that brands are under pressure to combine online and offline customer interactions, with 79% of respondents being more loyal to companies that provide consistent interactions across an organization.

“The State of Connected Customers report found that customers are reassessing their established brand loyalty as their priorities and behaviors change,” said Jo Gaines, regional vice president for retail and goods. consumption at Salesforce.

“At a time when it’s never been easier for customers to switch brands and loyalty is proving elusive, retailers need to focus on creating exceptional experiences across digital and physical and enjoy the recency and history of their customers with their brand.

“As customers have a more digital mindset than ever before, they expect retailers to know them, understand them, and provide a humanized, thoughtful, and personal touch, from providing personalized offers to recommendations based on their previous purchases,” she says.

“Retailers who don’t create these experiences run the risk of damaging hard-earned relationships.”

According to Gaines, as more shoppers seek fully connected in-person and offline experiences, retailers need to create moments and interactions that bring all elements of their brand together.

“It’s never been more important to do this to earn, build and maintain customer trust,” she says.

“We are also now in the age of the conscious consumer, and shoppers are increasingly turning to more values-driven brands that align with issues that matter to them, like climate change.

“While people want brands that are clear about their values ​​and stand up for them, they don’t want to pay a lot more for it.”

Paul Zahra, CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, says customers are now more impatient than ever.

“If they don’t have a positive experience when they walk into your store or your website, they’re very quick to move on and look for competing brands and products,” he says.

“This study is an important reminder for businesses about the importance of knowing your customers what products they like, the communication channels they prefer, and the personalized offers that work best.

“More and more Australians are buying the things they need with the click of a finger and people now expect the best in-store experiences to be delivered online and vice versa. Social media is also playing a role. more important in the context of integrating the online shopping experience, which means that investments in the digital and innovation space are extremely important for companies if they want to remain relevant,” says Zahra.

“Consumers are increasingly values-driven and buy with brands that reflect their social and environmental concerns, so issues such as sustainability and climate action are becoming increasingly important to businesses. in terms of strengthening their relationships with their customers,” he said.

“The climate change debate is over, and it’s not if but how and when companies can achieve their sustainability goals.”

Main conclusions:

  • Brand trust becomes increasingly important in times of change: As customers navigate a rapidly changing world, trust has an increasingly important impact on their relationships with companies. In A/NZ, 90% of customers believe that trust in businesses becomes more important during times of change, but 71% lose that trust when there are inconsistencies across multiple touchpoints in an organization. Additionally, 48% lose trust when they receive communications from brands that don’t match their interests.
  • Customers are embracing a digital-first mindset: Today’s customers are increasingly shifting their preferred experiences with brands to online channels. Over the next three years, customers expect to use augmented reality (50%), video dating (55%), virtual experiences (53%) and social media more to shop (50%). %). Additionally, in order to meet their unique needs and preferences, 57% of customers say they are open to companies using artificial intelligence to improve their experiences.
  • The digital shift is driving personalization at scale: Brands are under pressure to combine online and offline interactions into personalized experiences. 51% of customers are willing to share their personal information with a business in exchange for personalized offers or discounts, and 41% expect business offers to always be personalized. 48% say personalized rewards would increase their use of loyalty programs.
  • Customers expect businesses to demonstrate their values: Today’s customers increasingly expect businesses to respond and act in the best interest of society. Failure to do so risks impacting the bottom line, with 55% of respondents switching brands because its values ​​match theirs. 90% of customers are encouraged to buy with a brand based on its environmental practices, its actions against economic injustices (86%), its actions against racial injustices (83%) and its community involvement (86%).

Joseph P. Harris