Beancounters at global ecommerce consultancy Salmon have discovered that the era of the ‘disloyal consumer’ is upon us.
Apparently, brand loyalty is tumbling as consumers increasingly prioritise speed, innovation and convenience when they shop.
A new study of over 6,000 consumers across the UK, US and Benelux conducted, showed that 88 percent of consumers believe speed of delivery is more important to them than the brand being ordered (78 percent).
The study also found that consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with new and innovative ways to shop, with 45 percent using or likely to use digital assistants such as Amazon Echo’s Alexa or Google Home in the next 12 months. They are more likely to use these devices than smart lighting (42 percent), smart fridges and other white goods (42 percent), Virtual Reality (40 percent) and Apple Home (37 percent). As these services look to control the products shoppers buy, brand loyalty looks set to decline even more.
Nearly 60 percent say they can see the personal benefit of Programmatic Commerce – allowing technology to automatically purchase goods for them based on their set of product preferences – compared to 53 percent the year before.
Consumer hunger for new retail technology is growing with 23 percent identified as “digitally obsessed”, making almost all of their purchases online.
This need for speed and convenience plays into a wider shift in consumer shopping behaviour, as they value the variety of digital services on offer and experience that they receive overall: 60 percent say that if a retailer was more digitally innovative, they would be more likely to shop there – emphasising the lucrative potential retailers could be tapping into, especially as 73 percent say they plan to spend more in the future.
Two thirds of consumers in fact feel all online retailers should offer same-day delivery, compared to 2016’s research showing that the average expected delivery time was 2.6 days – no doubt fuelled by services such as Amazon Prime.
Consumers are preparing for the next generation of retail technology – reflected in the fact that on average, there are four devices per household (increasing to five in the US) and over half (51 percent) of all surveyed also said they could not comfortably live one day without connected devices.
What is holding everything back is that retailers are failing to provide these elevated digital and innovative experiences for customers.
More than 57 percent believe the technology, apps and services they use in their own life are more sophisticated than that provided by digital retailers. Almost 70 percent said they want to see greater innovation to improve the customer experience, showing a desire to shop with only the most forward-thinking stores.
Hugh Fletcher, global head of Consultancy and Innovation at Salmon, said: “Loyalty is a complex thing. Across all sectors, we’re seeing fewer people favouring and remaining strongly aligned to certain brands and companies. This is especially prevalent in digital commerce – where the consumer focus on finding the lowest prices and fastest delivery doesn’t lend itself to being loyal to a certain product.
“However, as the study shows, loyalty is still there to be captured. Consumers are increasingly loyal to services over retailers – this is largely because the likes of Amazon is seen to be innovating and delivering the best overall experience to the consumer.
“It is this ‘experience’ that drives loyalty and will be the difference between being a leader in digital commerce and being left behind,” continued Fletcher. “What this means, however, is that retailers need to offer consumers a host of convenient services and harness innovative technologies in the process if they are going to attract and retain customers’ attention. As consumers are becoming more open to trying new technologies – or expect to in the coming months –retailers need to put in the ground work from now if they are to meet high expectations.”