Why Consumer Loyalty Still Matters in 2021

Consumers are incredibly fickle these days, with loyalty that seems to shift with little warning. Are consumers loyal to brands anymore and is it something businesses should strive to attain going forward? Consumer loyalty has become the golden ring for marketers, and definitely still matters in 2021 and beyond. We’ll share why this is and how you can reconnect with your target audiences below!

Here are some meaningful consumer loyalty statistics to get us started:

2021 brand loyalty report

Is Consumer Loyalty Over? 

Some say that the “loyalty era” of marketing is over, meaning that it is no longer possible to keep consumers buying from you just by offering them extra incentives. Indeed, according to research, 71% of consumers feel that loyalty incentive programs don’t make them loyal at all. The sad truth is that consumer loyalty has been in decline for the last few years. Here are some reasons cited:

  • Increasing transparency. Smartphones and social media allow consumers to compare hundreds of brands within seconds. They can also read reviews – upping the ante for brands that may not have their customer care in order.
  • Failing to meet consumer expectations. In the age of Amazon Prime, consumers now expect the best of everything, and that includes superfast shipping. That last-mile delivery is a game changer.
  • Lack of relevance to consumers. Brands that haven’t tried to remain socially relevant to their consumers have make it super easy for them to switch to a more “aware” competitor.

 

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All of this does not mean that brands should give up on consumer loyalty. Quite the opposite – consumer loyalty has the potential to elevate any brand in any category to a winning position.

How to Harness Consumer Loyalty

When brands learn as much as they can about their customers, they can even out their odds of being the brand consumers turn to when they have a need for whatever product or service they provide. How? By becoming – and staying – top of mind with consumers.

Using data analytics and social media, brands can answer many questions about current and potential consumers, including:

  • Who are they, specifically? This could include gender, profession, interests and a host of other psychographic indicators around behaviors and even preferred word choice.
  • Where in the world, country, state are they located? And how are those subsets engaging online? This could leave to very specific offers for these groups.
  • What do they like or dislike – and beyond that, what do you love and hate? Do they have unmet needs for your brand or your competitor’s offerings?

These are only a few questions your consumer loyalty exploration can answer, really. And it lends power to your crisis capabilities as well.

96% of unhappy customers won’t tell a brand directly if they’re displeased about something, but they will tell others about it. Social listening with the help of the latest customer sentiment analysis tools will help you locate those unhappy customers and resolve any issues before they spin up. Also, make it easy for consumers to contact you directly. 68% of consumers feel more loyalty toward the brands that make it easy and convenient to engage with them.  

And in these turbulent times, any “in” you can create with consumers is worthwhile.

2021 brand loyalty report

Staying Relevant in Turbulent Times

COVID-19 had a dramatic effect on the world of CPG. In the U.S., CPG sales went up by $8.5 billion in March 2020, and brands that were accessing accurate and real-tim customer insight data were able to pivot to ride this wave. Others drown.

This is because brand perception is everything and in the midst of so much change, consumers were more likely than ever to switch to a competitor if their product met their physical or emotional needs. Tuning into those needs during this time was crucial. And although loyalty is all over the map, it is not elusive. It has just changed shape.

In fact, according to some surveys, as many as 70% of consumers want to buy from brands that are doing something to tackle social and environmental issues, and with those who have responded to the pandemic in a socially responsible way. And this underscores the need for businesses to be not only very attuned to their customers’ needs, but also to be proactive and authentic, as consumers are watching closely for that follow through.

For example, with consumer behavior research informing their efforts, brands knew that people were preferring value to variety and that many items that were once essential were now obsolete. As a result, many grocery stores experienced a decrease of 7.3% in variety of items purchased over the month of June.

Consumer savvy companies had access to digital intelligence early on and shifted focus quickly and maximize the essential, thereby retaining or growing consumer loyalty. We saw Kraft Heinz Co, Coca-Cola and Hershey do away with less profitable products to focus on those that were most popular. As the pandemic skyrocketed the sale of canned goods, Bumble Bee tuna cut some of its flavored pouches and put more cans on the shelves.

Overall, we see this shifting focus on consumer loyalty becoming both more important and also more challenging than ever before. And when you reach out for a demo, we can help you devise ways to harness the power of consumer loyalty and increase your retention rates – and sales!

2021 brand loyalty report

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