March 25, 2022
Retail Growth

What Does a Loyal Shopper Look Like? (Part 2 of 2)

Sean Turner

Today’s loyal shopper is looking for quick, highly personalized brand interactions that tell them what they need and offer great deals right when they’re ready to buy. In Part 1, we shared statistics that show why loyalty is important in 2022 and explained how we arrived at a moment when focusing on loyalty is crucial for brands to compete and succeed. In Part 2 of our series we delve deeper into how loyal shoppers behave—and what you can do to cultivate more of these revenue-boosting behaviors.

How Do Shoppers Express Their Brand Loyalty?

Shoppers express loyalty in a variety of ways. At minimum, a loyal shopper has a favorable impression of the brand and has purchased from that brand more than once. At the other end of the spectrum, top-tier loyal shoppers are fully engaged—spending on a regular basis, investing in upsells, and referring others.

Brands may choose to define a loyal shopper today as someone who does some or all of the following:

  • Refers others: “Warmed up” referrals are four times more likely to purchase than customers who walk in cold. The lifetime value of a referral is 16% higher than a customer who was not referred by a family member, friend, or colleague. Crowdsourced review sites remain popular, but consumers trust those they know the most. Providing a positive experience is the best way to solicit referral business; more than half of shoppers will give a referral if offered an incentive, social media recognition, or access to a loyalty program.

  • Offers feedback: For every customer who complains, 26 remain silent. When done properly, customer satisfaction surveys can catch sparks before they become fires. Customers who feel heard are more likely to value their relationships with a retailer. By improving products and services through feedback, brands earn customer trust and loyalty.

  • Engages cross-channel: Omnichannel shoppers are more likely to become loyal spenders. A study by Symphony RetailAI found that 50% of shoppers who try online grocery end up leaving the channel after one purchase; however, those who stick with the channel are three times more likely to become long-term, loyal shoppers, and these omnichannel regulars account for more than half of online grocery sales. Better still, omnichannel shoppers spend 20% more on average compared to single channel shoppers.

  • Resists competition: Top drivers of loyalty include quality, value, consistency, and experience. Loyal customers are not as easily swayed by other brands, fluctuations in pricing, or changes in product availability. In fact, 46% of customers will remain loyal even after a bad experience.

In a perfect world, all your buyers would be fully engaged big spenders for life, but in reality, loyal shoppers can exist on a continuum. And that’s okay, so long as you know how to encourage top-tier loyalty and you’re actively working toward this goal for all customers.

How to Create Loyalty

There is no singular formula for customer loyalty, but brands who do it best generally:

  • Have a loyalty program: More than 90% of companies have some type of points or rewards program in place. Shoppers especially love having access to exclusive offers or partnerships. Launching an integrated loyalty program in tandem with retailers can be an ideal way to extend your reach without extending your budget.

  • Personalize marketing messages to the unique shopper: This isn’t 1950 anymore. You’re no longer restricted to broad, one-way modes of mass communication. The evolution of the shopper’s journey has introduced exciting channels for customizing messages based on an individual’s unique history of interaction. Customers prefer personalized communications, with 87% happy to share their personal information to get more customized experiences which in turn helps you market smarter in the future. It’s no surprise that brands see a 6.4x lift in member satisfaction with their loyalty programs when they personalize their messages effectively.

  • Create one unified brand experience across channels: Seamless omnichannel marketing is essential today, with 75% of consumers saying they’d engage more with loyalty programs if they could easily access them from a smartphone. Even more compelling is the finding that companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain 89% of their customers on average, compared to a 33% retention rate among companies with weak omnichannel engagement. Retail media networks are one way that brands can connect campaigns across ecommerce websites and mobile apps. With an omnichannel retail media strategy, brands can connect targeted offers to shoppers who are in-store, in-aisle, actively making purchasing decisions. Collecting first-party data from these sources enables brands to get a 360-degree view of the buyer’s journey from start to finish.

Loyal customers ease the cost and burden of forever chasing new acquisitions while increasing morale and long-term revenue. Brands that want to compete—and win—can cut through the competitive clamor and garner true loyalty by implementing a data-driven, personalized, omnichannel marketing strategy.

Looking for next-level loyalty, but not sure where to begin?

Swiftly has the platform and solutions to help you thrive and grow in today’s digital world. With our simple, out-of-the-box model that includes a retail platform, a mobile platform, retail media, insights and analytics—you can quickly take your loyalty-building efforts to the next level. Let’s talk.