#10things brands need to know about customer loyalty

What keeps a customer loyal? Brands still struggle to get inside the heads of their customers.

What keeps a customer loyal? Brands have strived to solve this puzzle for decades, and while giants with loyal followings like Amazon, Sephora and Starbucks have developed novel approaches, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to loyalty. Brand loyalty is complex and even with the unprecedented amount of customer information available, brands still struggle to get inside the heads of their customers. It’s one thing to look at what customers are doing when engaging with your brand; it’s another to know what they’re thinking. Clarus Commerce has just released its, 2022 Customer Loyalty Data Study: What are the true drivers of loyalty in the minds of consumers?

1. This is what keeps customers loyal

Knowing what drives and disrupts a customer’s loyalty is key to understanding if you have a sound marketing strategy. While social media and celebrities often seem to drive buzz around brands, Clarus Commerce research found loyalty is really driven by qualities that are easier for brands to control. This is what keeps customers loyal: a higher quality product (27%); strong sense of community (22%); better prices (17%); positive social impact (16%); knowing their customer and their preferences (11%); and convenience (6%).

2. A sense of community is key

Social media communities built around products or services are the most in demand. Brands have an enormous opportunity to engage with existing, organic social media communities, as well as build their own followings.

3. The drivers of loyalty

In order to foster a sense of community among those customers who consider community as an important value, this is what brands need to prioritise and build for their customers to engage with: online groups (34%); in-person events (32%); brand-related content (18%); exclusive products or offers (15%).

4. The disruptors of loyalty

Increases in price and decreases in quality are the leading reasons why consumers lose loyalty to their favourite brands and choose another: brand’s quality declines (65%); price increase (47%); brand’s social stance on political or societal issues that disagrees with consumer’s views or values  (33%); unreliable delivery (23%); brand doesn’t live up to their stated values (16%); friends or family stop posting about the brand (15%); brand stops hosting in-person events (6%).

5. Friends and family influence consumers most

Influencers, whether unpaid or paid, only actually influence 46% of consumer’s opinions; and even fewer (44%) of consumers reported that paid endorsements influenced their opinion. In fact, outside factors have less influence on brand loyalty than most brand managers think – opinions of friends and family top the list, with personal politics and the media also playing a large role.

6. The habits of loyal customers

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents check their loyalty status or points at least once a month — and 36% check at least weekly. It’s interesting to note that 58% of respondents indicated they have rarely or never shared a post about their favourite brand on social media; and 27% said they have never made a major purchase from the brand that required saving for. The takeaway? Brands should make sure loyalty programs are kept fresh and regularly promoted via social media channels.

7. Consumers and social action

Consumers say values can impact loyalty, but they rarely take action. Although social media and push alerts might make the industry think certain types of negative engagement with brands are common, the results show this isn’t the case. While 57% say media coverage can impact their loyalty, Clarus reports that stories covering consumer action don’t seem to be influencing consumers to repeat or replicate behaviours like boycotts and destroying a brand’s products in protest.

8. The attitudes of loyal customers

Buying regularly is the most common action taken by loyal customers, but actions taken in between purchases matter as well. It’s encouraging to see so many customers who share information about their favourite brand with friends and family — the data showed that friends and family are some of the biggest influences on people’s opinions of brands.

9. Consumers are still wary of sharing data

The majority of consumers trust their favourite brands to keep their data safe — but they are very reluctant to proactively share information about themselves. For brands trying to get a better picture of customers through data as most internet browsers phase out third-party cookies, this is a red flag. Brand leaders must start showing their customers immediate and direct value from the data they share. Even when faced with a potential discount or benefit from sharing data, consumers were reluctant to say they would give up this personal information — despite the fact that in some cases, it’s likely the brand already has it.

10. Driving loyalty forward

The world has changed significantly in the past few years, but the underpinnings of loyalty have not. Price, quality and the community around the brand dominate when it comes to increasing loyalty, and ultimately convenience plays as big a role as anything. The noise of social media and headline-grabbing actions like boycotts? Not so much.


Main image credit: Pexels.com.


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