Whether you consciously do or not, we guarantee you’ll have a preferred high-street supermarket retailer of choice you’ll make a beeline for on a Saturday morning when you’ve run out of the home essentials.
This choice can be down to a whole host of factors; the distance as to where they’re based, the choice of products, the prices… or maybe it’s because they have the friendliest staff or the nicest shopping environment, or maybe it’s just because you can always get a trolley without having to fumble around in the car park for a £1 coin? Regardless, there are some retailers who have nailed the art of tempting customers through their doors time and time again. Lucky them…
The art of effective consumer loyalty is especially important given that we’re living in an age where the continued growth of digital retailers is making it increasingly difficult for traditional high street retailers to survive – let alone flourish. In fact, 2018 saw a rise in shops and retailers going out of business due to savvy shoppers taking their business into the digital world.
On face value, traditional bricks and mortar retailers are fighting a seemingly losing battle to retain their customers against the onslaught of their web-based rivals. But that’s not quite the end of the story…
UP FOR THE FIGHT?
Sure, shopping online is now a staggeringly successful, easy and popular method on which to do business; but the actual physical experience of visiting a shop, the tactile feel of the products or the strength of the customer service are areas which the digital retail goliaths struggle to compete with.
Shoppers are wise, know what they want and how much they’re willing to pay: this is where the high street - and the traditional supermarket in particular - can come into their own and can play their trump cards.
Up until fairly recently, visiting the supermarket for your weekly shopping has been an activity that’s remain unchanged for decades. But, with digital retailers such as Amazon now looking for a slice of the pie and offering weekly shopping directly to your door with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a finger, your high street stalwarts like Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s are now having to work harder than ever for your custom – including offering their own online services. Ah, it’s nice to feel wanted, isn’t it?
This is where the art of consumer loyalty comes in, and when it comes to doing it well, there are some supermarket retailers who are really nailing the artform.
And how do we know this? Well, we conducted some comprehensive research to find out!
M&S, TESCO AND ALDI: THE BIG 3 WHEN IT COMES TO consumer LOYALTY
We recently launched our 2018 Brand Loyalty Index to cast a beady eye over how loyal customers really are towards different brands and, most importantly, why.
The research surveyed 5,000 consumers about hundreds of household name brands across supermarkets, technology, food and drink (including alcoholic beverages), personal care and household goods. One of the key findings of the Index shows the ten supermarkets that UK consumers are most loyal to and gave some insights as to why people remained loyal to them, too.
This year, consumers voted M&S Food as their favourite supermarket retailer, with 57% stating they’ve always had a positive experience with the brand. This is despite the retailer going through some well-publicised tough times and retail sales across their business falling in 2018. Following in second were industry behemoths Tesco and in third were discount supermarket retailer Aldi.
This is telling us that whilst the competitive nature of the industry is certainly taking its toll, it isn’t damaging people’s perception of the brand. And this is really important, because if M&S can address the deeper issues it’s currently experiencing, they’ll have a ready, willing and loyal customer base who’ll not only stick with them, but also flock back to them on a regular basis – and if you’re looking to drive sales and brand awareness, these followers are a crucial cog in the loyalty machine.
SO, WHAT ARE THEY DOING RIGHT?
As we mentioned earlier, loyalty towards a brand can be due to some really simple factors; price, quality and choice being three typical reasons behind why people may choose to shop in the places they do, but there can also be slightly more to it.
In truth, no single factor determines or inspires consumer loyalty. Despite the importance of value for money for supermarket customers, the higher-end option of Marks & Spencer food has proven the winner for having loyal customers, beating not only market leader Tesco, but also the budget offerings from Aldi and Lidl. So, if you think that bottom-line cost is all consumers care about, the facts would seem to say otherwise.
On the other side of the coin, when you compare Marks & Spencer food to alternative premium brand Waitrose, the difference between the two is largely explained by exposure. Our survey found that whilst more Waitrose shoppers felt most loyal to the brand, fewer than half of the people we surveyed had ever shopped there.
Customers may value consistency and quality over convenience, but ideally, they want all three, and this is something M&S seems to have caught onto ahead of their rivals. And speaking of rivals, when it comes to online grocery competitors such as Ocado or Amazon, do you think their success has garnered a loyal band of consumer followers? Well, neither appeared in the top 50 of our results… Make of that what you will…
THE RESULTS FOR SUPERMARKET RETAILERS IN FULL...
DOWNLOAD THE COMPLETE 2018 BRAND LOYALTY INDEX FOR MORE ESSENTIAL INSIGHTS INTO THE BRANDS LOVED BY THE GREAT BRITISH PUBLIC!
Our 2018 Brand Loyalty Index is available for you to download, keep and study - and the best part is that it's completely free! So, what's stopping you? Get the full lowdown on the public's perception of Britain's biggest brands and which ones are smashing it when it comes to driving consumer loyalty!