Study: Aussie customers cheat on favourite retailers

Only fraction of consumers feel devoted towards their preferred retail brands

A whopping majority of Australian consumers (97 per cent) would cheat on their favourite retailers, according to a global loyalty study that revealed ‘devotion’ is a key factor of how passionate, committed and intimate consumers feel with a retailer.

The ICLP study, Deeply Devoted, which looked at psychological similarities between human and brand relationships, found the majority of Australian consumers are now in less committed relationships with their favourite brands than ever before, with only three per cent feeling devoted towards their preferred retail brands.

ICLP, a global agency specialising in customer loyalty programs, is behind the loyalty programs for Virgin Australia's Velocity program, as well as Harrods and Barclays.

The study, in concert with relationship expert, Professor Ron Rogge of the University of Rochester, shows ‘devotion’ as key to growing high-value, enduring relationships between people and brands. It also sheds some light into what retail, finance and travel brands can do to improve customer loyalty during the holiday season and beyond.

ICLP general manager, Simon Morgan, said brands today are finding it difficult to bond with their customers, and the level of choice means consumers are increasingly distracted.

“Our research shows that what consumers need from a brand to build an emotional connection is very similar to what they require from relationships, with friends and loved ones. That is, good communication, reliability, consistency, reward and recognition,” he said.

Morgan said the study proves just how important it is to create and maintain devoted customer relationships.

“If brand relationships weren’t dynamic and ever-changing, then you would have pretty much a static number of customers year-in, year-out. I think brands across any sector can look at this research and begin to explore a new model for cultivating brand loyalty," he said. "Truly understanding the emotional factors that contribute to a consumer’s devotion to a brand – that’s what we’re working towards. This study has something in it for any company or other entity needing to foster and maintain customer relationships.”

ICLP surveyed 758 consumers in Australia to rate their experiences with friends and romantic partners, as well as brand relationships, on seven core relationship criteria: Recognition, rewards, reciprocity, reliability, respect, trust and communication.

The study focused on three key components of a relationship: Intimacy (willingness to share information with a retailer), passion (brand enthusiasm) and commitment (loyalty), which put into a retail context, allows brands to foster increasingly devoted relationships with customers.

Key findings reveal 88 per cent of ‘devoted’ customers would recommend a brand they are devoted to; 73 per cent of shoppers stated they would be encouraged to shop more with a brand if it had a loyalty programme; while 73 per cent of Australian consumers would buy more if they were better rewarded.

“This emphasises the power of using personalised rewards that ‘surprise and delight’ customers to move them towards a more devoted state,” the study found.

More than half (59 per cent) would buy more if retailers used their data to understand their customers’ individual needs and requirements better; 54 per cent would buy more if retailers treated them with more respect; and 49 per cent would buy more if they trusted brands more;

Meanwhile, 49 per cent would buy more if brands communicated with them better. “This highlights the importance of using better communications and engagement strategies to create the reciprocal sense of passion present in a devoted relationship,” the study revealed.

In addition, devoted customers are the most willing group of consumers to share personal information, opinions and desires with their favourite brands, and are least likely to stray to competitors.

University of Rochester's Professor Ron Rogge said the ICLP study represents “groundbreaking work” in understanding the key components of brand loyalty.

“Our analyses suggested that the same seven basic types of relationships emerged for both brand and close relationships. In fact, a majority of respondents approached their relationships with favourite brands in a very similar manner to how they approached their close relationships.

“Therefore, developing a strong and devoted relationship with a brand might not be so different from developing a strong and caring bond with another person, suggesting that people might buy with their hearts. This is exciting work, as it not only allows us to better understand and track the various types of brand loyalty, but it will also provide retailers with critical insights into targeting the needs and desires of specific classes of consumers in order to promote greater loyalty."

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu


Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Creating the ultimate customer-centric environment in 2018

All businesses today that are serious about being successful have adopted a customer-centric environment.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Embrace customer obsession to transform marketing into a catalyst for growth

In 2018, Forrester believes 20 per cent of CEOs globally will fail to act on digital transformation and put their firms at risk.

Michael Barnes

VP research director, Forrester

How challenger brands can win at biddable media

Challenger brands, especially in highly competitive markets, generally can’t match established players for media spend.

Chris Pittham

Managing director, Jaywing

While a lot has been said about AI and machine learning, I don't see it put to extensive use as yet. I will be happy to have it help the ...

Atul Dhakappa

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Wowww! What A Awsome Blog! Thanks for this wonderful post I really got many valuable information through it. As a learner it's not so eas...

Mia Joseph

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

What you have said about AI, machine learning and voice activation is very true. Some of the other things we are already observing is the...

Atul Dhakappa

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Yes, Digital Marketing now getting growth at the higher level. we can't predict today trends in the digital world. Nice stuff! Thanks for...

lorenso

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

I believe Digital Marketing is moving more toward social media and influential marketing. People are trying to grow their influence as in...

Rachel Kieran

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in