Online and multi-brand retailers still have plenty to learn from each other, despite building strong customer loyalty

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Global loyalty marketing agency ICLP (a Collinson Group Company) has revealed research showing where different retail sectors are performing most strongly in building loyalty with their customers. While online retailers including Amazon and Flipkart were shown to be performing best in customer recognition and personalization, multi-brand retailers including Big Bazaar and Shoppers Stop were shown to have built strong trust with Indian shoppers. They were also effective at encouraging their customers to make recommendations to friends and family.
For example, when it came to personalization and customer recognition, 70 per cent of Amazon and 67 per cent of Flipkart customers said that they were provided with relevant recommendations for products and services that were of interest to them. Furthermore, 63 per cent of Amazon and 58 per cent of Flipkart shoppers said that their chosen retailer had taken the time to really get to know them and understand what they want.
Meanwhile, multi-brand retailers have built strong relationships based on trust with their shoppers. 60 per cent of Big Bazaar customers and 88 per cent of Shoppers Stop customers said that the products offered by these retailers were of consistent quality and value for money. 54 per cent of Big Bazaar shoppers and 94 per cent of Shoppers Stop shoppers said that they were always treated with respect, and 65 per cent of Big Bazaar and 82 per cent of Shoppers Stop customers said that they recommended the brand to their friends and family regularly.
The results show the extent to which different retail sectors in India can learn from one another as they look to build loyalty and closer relationships with their customers. Working with Professor Rogge of the University of Rochester, ICLP applied Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love to the relationship between shoppers and brands, and defined the ideal, or ‘devoted’ relationship, as one where shoppers feel passion, intimacy, and commitment towards the brand.
As part of the research, ICLP asked shoppers questions to ascertain how they felt about the relationships they had with particular brands and their associated loyalty programs. The results demonstrated the areas where all brands could improve, despite their success in building strong relationships so far:
Retailers still have room for improvement: Indian shoppers do feel attached to the brands they shop from most often, but when looking at all retail brands, only 21 per cent are currently in a devoted relationship
Programmes could do more to reward personal recommendations: Just 44 per cent of Indian shoppers say that they are rewarded if they make a personal recommendation to one of their friends
Personal data should be used to full effect: Only 56 per cent of Indian shoppers said that their chosen brand made relevant recommendations for products and services that interest them based on their personal data
Rewards need to be more tailored: Fewer than half of Indian shoppers (47 per cent) said that they were rewarded with offers tailored to their individual needs
Country Head & GM at ICLP, Anurag Saxena commented: “Indian retailers are generally doing a good job when it comes to building strong and lasting relationships with their customers. However, in order to ensure that as many customers as possible are in a truly devoted relationship, different retail sectors can learn from one another.
“Multi-brand retailers should look at how e-commerce brands have leveraged customer data points and segmented them on the basis of likes, preferences, shared interests on social media and their involvement in groups and communities. Meanwhile; e-commerce players need to understand that as gratifying as it is to receive a discount, a memorable experience with the brand is far more valuable. Giving customers unique experiences as rewards strengthens the emotional bond customers have with the brand, ensuring the relationship continues long after the experience itself.”

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