Savvy shoppers demand more from loyalty schemes
Downturn leads to new type of customer, finds State of Britain survey
New research from The Logic Group and Ipsos MORI has found that the downturn has led to a significant shift in consumer attitudes and the emergence of a new ‘Savvy Shopper’ whose number one priority is to get better value for their money.
The research found that the majority have focused their priorities on the high street, looking for rewards that give money off products and services (61%). However many of these Savvy Shoppers remain sceptical about the motives of businesses, with 60% considering programmes to benefit companies more than customers.
The survey interviewed a nationally representative sample of 2,154 adults across Great Britain exploring the ‘State of Loyalty’ in Britain today with a focus on consumer confidence, attitudes and behaviour towards the products and services they buy. This is the second survey, following on from baseline research carried out in January 2009.
The Savvy Shopper is demanding more than just money off, they are also looking for an enhanced experience to match their diverse lifestyles. They also expect companies to understand what is important to them; 48% (second only to money off) said that rewards that are relevant to them would encourage them to spend more with an organisation. And while the majority are members of just one loyalty scheme (42%), the number that are members of two currently stands at 14%, an increase of 8% from last year.
There has also been an increase within retail loyalty programme membership compared to a year ago, with the survey identifying a 9% rise compared to 47% in 2009. Furthermore the majority are actively engaged in loyalty programmes, with 70% stating that they always remember to use their cards. However businesses still seem to have a job to do in fully connecting with the Savvy Shopper, with only 27% agreeing that loyalty programmes have made them more loyal to a specific brand.
Antony Jones, CEO of The Logic Group, commented: “It’s no surprise that Britain’s consumers have become more frugal over the last eighteen months and are increasingly looking to not only get more from their loyalty programmes, but are also seeking the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are getting the best possible deals.
“However as programmes become more sophisticated businesses need to address consumer cynicism about the value they add and who benefits from them most, building on loyalty as a key part of the customer journey. Businesses are operating in a highly competitive environment and are under ever-increasing pressure to retain customers.
“This has led many to focus on the quick wins delivered by money off offers and deals, which are undoubtedly popular amongst consumers. But the next challenge is for businesses to better communicate the benefits of their programmes and in turn use their loyalty programmes as a means of demonstrating an understanding of the customer mindset, building an emotional connection with the people that buy their products and services or visit their stores.”
Key findings from the survey on loyalty in sectors:
• We say we’re loyal to banks and building societies and supermarkets: For the second year banks and building societies and supermarkets continue to lead the way; 71% of us consider ourselves loyal customers to our banks, closely followed by 63% that are loyal to one Supermarket. However loyalty does not always equal high satisfaction levels with the schemes companies have in place with only one in ten (10%) consumers describing themselves as ‘very satisfied’ with financial services loyalty programmes
• Retail Spenders: Those that are members of retail schemes are most likely to spend more if they are offered money off (71%) and relevant offers for the products they buy (55%)
• The Loyalty Contract: 58% of us are loyal to our mobile and land line providers, most likely a product of providers locking customers into annual agreements and offering the incentive of free upgrades in exchange for contract renewals
• Public House Opinion: Almost three quarters (73%) of us are not loyal to bars, pubs and clubs and those that said they are very satisfied with loyalty programmes in the entertainment and going out sector dropped by 20% in the last year (from 37% to 16%)
• Supermarket Sweep: Loyalty programme adoption still remains relatively low in sectors outside of retail, although numbers appear to be on the increase. 56% are members of loyalty programmes for shops, versus 10% in the entertainment and going out category (up from 4% in 2009), 9% in travel and hotels and 7% in financial services (increasing from 4%)
Simon Atkinson, assistant chief executive at Ipsos MORI says: “The dynamics of what “true loyalty” means for your sector remains a key challenge in this uncertain climate. On one level we can celebrate the apparently high levels of loyalty towards banks, supermarkets and mobile phone providers. But we know that often people stay with a company out of convenience and necessity as opposed to any emotional connection. And customers are savvy enough to know a “me-too” loyalty scheme when they see one. This presents a challenge for those with loyal customers to get smarter with their relationships and getting more out of loyalty programmes to help meet their business goals.”