Can retailers win back long-term customer loyalty? The answer seems to be yes. We surveyed shoppers from the UK and the USA about their post-pandemic plans, and the results are hopeful:
- 41% prefer to see products in store before making a purchase.
- Over half of customers have not lost confidence in physical retail.
- Two thirds don’t expect their long-term shopping habits to change.
With non-essential stores set to reopen on the 12th April, UK retailers can finally start to look towards the future. For many the big question is the same: Will the customers come back?
Is brand loyalty a thing of the past?
Shoppers are keen to get back to the high street, but that doesn’t guarantee that they will return to your store. The pandemic has forced customers to try new brands and, for many, this has been a positive experience.
eCommerce surpassed 30% of total UK retail sales for the first time in history, peaking at 35.2% in January 2021. 46% of UK shoppers bought a product online for the first time, and 32% plan to continue doing so in future.
As a result, brand loyalty has taken a major hit:
- 49% of customers say that their brand loyalty has shifted as a result of the pandemic.
- 35% have changed the stores that they shop in.
- 14% say that they now have no loyalty to any particular brand.
This is both good news and bad news. The bad news is that you can’t rely on your old customers simply returning out of habit. The good news is that you have an opportunity to win over a whole new set of customers. Of course, this won’t be easy.
The post-pandemic customer has new priorities. You’ll need to be mindful of these if you want to attract them to your store. We wanted to give you a head start, so we asked customers what would encourage them to return to the high street:
- 25% of customers would be more likely to return to a store with faster service.
- 20% want instant access to product information and stock levels.
- 18% are looking for better customer service in general.
We also asked customers to name the things that would discourage them from returning:
- 22% of customers are put off by long queues at the checkouts.
- 19% are frustrated when they can’t find a colleague to help them.
- 20% are driven away by poor customer service.
These two sets of results have a lot in common. In fact, all of these desires and frustrations can be grouped into a single category – customer experience.
A happy customer is a loyal customer
Improving customer experience is the key to retaining business. A recent study from HubSpot found that 93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases if a company offers excellent customer service. This repeat business is extremely valuable. Studies show that increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase your profits by 25%. It’s no coincidence that the top three companies for customer loyalty in 2018 were also three of the most profitable- Amazon, Google and Apple.
So how can you offer an unforgettable customer experience? This is where we can help. VoCoVo is designed to eliminate all of the minor annoyances that contribute to customer frustration.
- Headsets allow you to find information and check stock levels for customers without leaving your position.
- You can authorise self-checkout purchases with a voice command, helping customers to get in and out in less time.
- Customers can use Call Points to ask for help without having to search for a colleague on the shop floor.
- Keypads allow checkout colleagues to call for assistance without abandoning their customer.
All of these small improvements add up to create a much smoother customer journey. Customers will remember this and will reward you with their loyalty. Studies show that 49% of customers are keen to share a positive experience, so you should see your footfall increase as word of mouth grows.
Get in touch today for more tips on providing an unforgettable customer experience.
Wednesday 7th April at 11am or 3pm, where Aaron and Lee will be taking a deep dive into our new research report ‘Retail Reunited’.