Loyalty schemes are becoming a key battleground in the fight to win over consumers during the cost of living crisis, with over half (52%) of Brits saying they are more likely to shop with a retailer that has a loyalty club, and three-fifths (61%) believing retailers can do more when it comes to rewarding them for their custom.
So says new research from American Express, which appears to fly in the face of previous studies that have claimed Brits are shunning their regular retailers as they seek out the cheapest prices.
While the Amex study does show UK shoppers are increasingly seeking better value for money, quality, and convenience, it maintains that this is providing retailers with new opportunities to engage customers and drive loyalty.
In the past few months alone, Asda has rolled out its first loyalty programme, Asda Rewards, while Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Boots, Costa Coffee, KFC, Starbucks have all ramped up their loyalty strategies.
According to the survey of 2,000 UK consumers, perhaps unsurprisingly over three quarters (77%) of Brits are increasingly focused on value for money, with 71% saying they proactively look for sale items when shopping. It is clear consumers are looking for more support from businesses on price, too, with almost seven in 10 (68%) believing retailers could do more to help counter rising prices.
Then again, three-fifths (60%) of consumers say a convenient shopping experience remains a high priority when spending with a retailer. But with two thirds (65%) valuing businesses that accommodate last-minute purchases and quick delivery, the report maintains that retailers need to keep a positive customer experience front of mind to stay ahead of competitors.
Against a backdrop of escalating cost-of-living pressures, the quality of products is also being interrogated; 62% of UK shoppers believe they have seen a dip in the quality or size of products in the last few months as retailers grapple with supply chain challenges, with almost half (47%) citing they prefer to buy fewer, better-quality items.
American Express vice-president and UK general manager of merchant services Daniel Edelman said, “People’s shopping priorities are understandably changing rapidly in line with the times, with a bigger focus on value and closer eye on quality. It’s important that retailers, as always, stay close to their customers and react quickly in response to their changing needs.
“Offering a winning customer experience both in-store or online should also be front of mind as consumers continue to prioritise convenience and ease when they shop.
“These can be real points of differentiation in a more competitive market. Finding ways to go the extra mile for their customers through loyalty or reward schemes, for example, can help drive repeat custom and keep their business ahead of their competitors.”
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