Product quality was the leading factor, but great customer service barely registered as a loyalty driver.
The conventional wisdom is that brand loyalty is dead. Not so, says a new consumer survey from Yotpo. But some of the findings are surprising in the context of current thinking.
Just over 90 percent of respondents (out of 2,000 consumers) considered themselves equally or more brand-loyal than they were a year ago. The survey doesn’t offer longer historical comparisons, however. The top-line results also don’t expose whether consumers are loyal to isolated brands or products or a range of brands.
Three to five purchases to hit the loyalty threshold. Survey respondents themselves defined loyalty in the context of repeat purchase behavior. Nearly 80 percent of these consumers said that it took at least three purchases for them to consider themselves loyal. And 37 percent said they weren’t loyal until they had made at least five purchases.
The dominant loyalty factor was product quality. “I love the product(s)” was the reason given by 55 percent of survey respondents in response to the question, “What is the primary reason you are loyal to a brand?” The only other noteworthy reason was “great sales/deals,” cited by 25 percent. A meager 7 percent said “above and beyond customer service,” which is surprisingly low. Other reasons saw minimal support.
Loyalty makes brand advocates. Loyalty inspires consumers to take further actions, such as joining loyalty programs and spending more money with the brand, according to the survey. Loyal customers are also more likely to leave reviews.
When they leave feedback for brands, the majority of these consumers (67 percent) expect a response within 24 hours. Twenty-six percent of that population want a response within 12 hours or less. And in return for their loyalty, these shoppers (in order) want more discounts, free shipping, gifts/swag, custom promotions, early product access and invitations to exclusive events.
Facebook dominant for brand interaction. By a significant margin, Facebook was the platform through which consumers interacted with their favorite brands:
- Facebook — 45 percent.
- Instagram — 9 percent.
- Twitter — 7 percent.
- Snapchat — 4 percent.
- Pinterest — 1 percent.
- Other — 2 percent.
- No social media brand interaction — 33 percent.
When asked what might “lose their loyalty,” respondents cited poor product/quality (51 percent) and poor customer service (23 percent) as the top two reasons. Others factors were negligible by comparison.
What motivates someone to try a new brand in the first place? According to the survey, these are the dominant considerations:
- Fair pricing — 64 percent.
- Free shipping — 61 percent.
- Reviews — 57 percent.
- Friend/family member word of mouth — 46 percent.
- Great shopping/buying experience — 37 percent.
- Loyalty perks/rewards — 35 percent.
- Ads — 15 percent.
- Influencer endorsement — 4 percent.
Why it matters to marketers. Some of the findings in this survey are counterintuitive in today’s “CX-centric” thinking. That’s supported by the high loyalty figures, as well as the finding that great customer service wasn’t a significant factor in generating loyalty — although poor service could cost brands loyalty.
No single survey should be seen as definitive. But these findings, together with their own data and customer feedback, offer a kind of potential loyalty playbook for marketers.