Blog>How to Drive Brand Loyalty in 2024
Through economic uncertainty, brand loyalty matters. Currently brand loyalty in Europe remains strong, with over 58% of European consumers willing to pay more to purchase from their favourite brands. However, loyalty differs amongst the generations. Whilst Gen Z and Millenials are willing to pay more for their favourite brands, they’re also more likely to leave brands. Conversely the older generations are less willing to spend but more likely to remain loyal.
According to a 2023 report from Marigold exploring European consumer loyalty, the most common reasons consumers cite for leaving brands are, the quality of the products or services, and the promotions and offers provided. Unsurprisingly, economic factors are always at play, not only affecting consumer purchasing power but the value of the service or promotions offered by brands. For brands who have seen a decline in customer retention, it’s not over. 74% of European consumers are willing to revisit loyalty, stating they can be won back by brands they’ve left.
Ebbo’s 2023 Loyalty Programs study found 81% of consumers holding a brand loyalty program membership to state said membership would influence their likelihood of making a purchase from that brand.Loyalty programs are known to increase the lifetime value of customers, encourage repeat purchases and help to foster a positive brand image, which in turn will likely increase referrals, as consumers will share their positive experience with others. However, a sticking point proves to be the sign up process, with 42% of consumers stating that they would not sign up for a loyalty program as the process requires too much effort or is too time consuming. To avoid faltering at the first hurdle, aim to streamline the process. Rather than asking a myriad of questions straight off the bat, begin by collecting a name and email address. Over time you can gather more information on the consumer through engagement tactics and shopper analysis.
Whilst Marigold research found that 65% of European consumers want to receive discounts from loyalty schemes, these rewards don’t always have to be financial. Consumers have also cited interest in receiving exclusive or early access, events or services and personalised experiences. We’re now seeing more brands move away from price related incentives. This year ThriftBooks, for example, chose to offer free books to loyalty members rather than discounts, as this was proving harmful due to the low average product price. 91% of consumers globally agree that many loyalty programs feel similar and are not differentiated from others. So think about what your customer wants and the ways in which you can reframe your loyalty scheme to make it unique.
Sustainability remains front of mind for many, with 69% of global consumers stating that sustainability is more important to them now than it was two years ago. However, according to Deloitte’s Conscious Consumer report 63% of Dutch consumers mention price as the greatest barrier for making ethical purchasing decisions. Green loyalty is set to be on the rise for the coming year, so it’s worth considering how you might make sustainable living more accessible for rewards members. Circular initiatives offer an alternative to price reduction based rewards, with 63% of shoppers stating that they would like to see brands offer a resale or second-hand area on their website.
While most consumers belong to between one and six loyalty programs, 72% of those consumers use 50% or less of those memberships. Introducing game-like elements has been known to increase engagement and can offer a point of differentiation from other schemes. Gamification can offer customers a sense of accomplishment and encourages social sharing, as those engaging with game-like loyalty schemes have been found to be more active on social media. However, these programs should not be too difficult to engage with, rather difficulty should increase overtime so customers remain motivated to progress.
European consumers skew heavily towards brands that respect data privacy, with 78% stating that their favourite brands use data in a way that makes them feel comfortable. On a global scale, 31% of consumers have cited their reason for sidestepping loyalty programs to be apprehension around sharing personal data. Conversely, 47% of consumers have stated that they would like to see more personalisation from loyalty schemes, however this proves difficult when there’s a reluctance to share data. Ebbo’s 2023 Loyalty Amplifiers study found that two thirds of consumers are likely to provide more detailed information in exchange for an incentive. Gen Z and Millenials are more likely to exchange data than Gen X and Boomers, and as the younger cohorts are less likely to remain loyal, brands can harness personalisation when targeting the younger generations to drive loyalty.
Asking consumers for data is always going to be a point of friction so, if you are asking for data, make sure you’re using that data to create memorable experiences. As an example, when signing up for an ASOS account, users have the option to input their measurements. ASOS’s fit assistant will then use this information to help recommend the customer’s size in various styles when shopping. Using data in this way significantly helps to improve the customer experience, which is key for driving loyalty. 90% of consumers agree that most loyalty programs have room for improvement when it comes to being personalised to their preferences. Supermarkets also practise data collection, most is collected automatically, based on buying habits. However, this can go wrong if incorrect assumptions are inferred from transactions, so it’s important to use these findings the correct way, connecting with the customer without overfamiliarity.
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