Insight: New research reveals marketers are underestimating the loyalty consumers have to fashion and retail brands- Greenlight

New research from digital and Commerce growth agency, Greenlight, has revealed that whilst consumers are most loyal to fashion and retail brands, marketers are underestimating loyalty across industries.

Despite uncertain times for the UK high street, fashion and retail topped the list of the industries consumers are most loyal to with 16% saying this is the industry they are most loyal to, followed by beauty (14%) and consumer packaged goods (11%). Marketers who aren’t maximising this loyalty with targeted communications risk letting it go to waste.

The research, conducted with over 400 marketers and 2000 consumers, also shows that only 22% of marketers think consumers have become more loyal in the past two years. However, almost double the amount (38%) of consumers say they are more loyal now than two years ago. Underestimating loyalty to this extent means that marketers are missing out on the insight that can help them market effectively to loyal customers.

Loyalty differs across industries, with consumers more likely to be loyal to industries that are more personal to their lives. 48% say this is the reason behind their loyalty, hence the reason fashion and retail take top place.

The industries consumers say they are most loyal to:

  1. Fashion and retail (16%)
  2. Beauty (14%)
  3. Consumer packaged goods (11%)
  4. Mobile and telecoms (10%)
  5. Financial services (9%)
  6. Travel (8%)
  7. Health and lifestyle (7%)
  8. Consumer electronics (6%)
  9. Utilities (6%)
  10. Sporting and recreation (5%)

The biggest driver of loyalty for consumers is the quality of the product – 37% of consumers say this is the factor that makes them most loyal. For over half (52%), it is a change in price that would make them switch their loyalties to a brand. Whilst these prove the biggest factors that influence loyalty, brands must make the time and effort to get under the skin of what their customers value and how a loyalty scheme can supplement this.

The worrying thing is that there is currently a large disparity between the perception of brand loyalty, particularly among GenZ consumers, as 58% of GenZ consumers consider themselves loyal to brands despite only 11% of marketers believing they are. For fashion and retail brands, this unawareness of loyalty could be detrimental when it comes to marketing, as marketers risk directing those consumers the wrong way down the sales funnel.

Firstly, brands targeting GenZ need to understand how loyalty is being shown. Almost a quarter of those aged 18-24 show loyalty by liking and commenting on brands’ social media accounts, and 21% directly post on social media about using the brands they’re loyal to. With social media being such an important tool for consumers to engage with fashion and retail brands, it’s more important than ever for fashion and retail brands to have the data and insights needed to map out the picture of loyalty displayed across social engagement, and to have an adequate social media strategy in place to encourage consumer engagement.

Furthermore, without the right data points to hand, marketers risk creating a negative experience and using the wrong channels to talk to their customers. The research shows that 54% of marketers think that the right influencer can influence brand loyalty, and almost half of consumers (44%) agree that influencers can change their perception of brand loyalty. This highlights an opportunity for marketers to play to their audience’s desired channel in efforts to encourage loyalty.

The differences between age groups continue when you take the fact that 43% of GenZ consumers choose to go to a brand’s website compared to only 15% of 55-64-year-olds, or the fact that GenZ consumers are heavier users of brand apps (25% go to an app to make a brand purchase, whereas only 1% of those aged 65+ would do so). Marketers need to have a clear understanding of how their target audiences behave and interact with their brand and use that information to fuel their loyalty programme, so it’s carefully targeted to customer preferences and wants.

Hannah Kimuyu, Director of Paid Media and Data Insights at Greenlight, says “There’s a gap in understanding that needs to be closed if marketers want to target consumers more effectively, especially when it comes to GenZ consumers. The fashion and retail industry is facing a time of uncertainty, where loyalty is seen as illusive and consumers are often deemed fickle.

“Without the right tools to measure how and where your consumers display loyalty, marketers can’t expect to respond appropriately throughout their marketing tactics and loyalty schemes. 40% of marketers admit they still don’t have the right tools to measure loyalty and another 28% are not sure if they do. Ultimately measuring loyalty throughout the customer journey comes down to having an integrated approach and the right eCommerce, analytics, and measurement systems in place to support online and offline activity”

“However, the ultimate problem is that there is a knowledge gap caused by the lack of accurate data that depicts to what degree customers are loyal. So, it’s critical for marketers to proactively seek out the insight tools required to ensure they don’t miss out on an opportunity to enhance their marketing tactics.”



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