Brand loyalty linked to online interaction

laptop, keyboard, e-commerce, onlineOnce upon a time, customer loyalty largely depended on the friendly and helpful shop assistant.

But in today’s digital age, it is more about the quality of a company’s online service, research by software giant SAP shows.

The report, based on a poll of 3000 Australians, found shoppers are four times more likely to be loyal to a brand if their digital experience is “delightful”.

Of those identified as being unhappy with their digital experience, only 17 per cent said they would remain loyal to the brand.

Poor digital experiences can lead to a loss in customer loyalty and ultimately a loss in sales, SAP’s Australia and NZ managing director John Ruthven said.

He said simple, engaging and personalised digital experiences were identified as being key to engendering repeat business and customer loyalty.

“They want personalised service and for it to predict their preferences without infringing on their privacy,” Ruthven said.

“An engaging digital experience is one that responds to consumers and allows them to interact with and control the experience when needed.

“And thirdly, a digital experience should be cohesive, integrated and easy; it has to fit in with the consumer’s life effortlessly, available anytime, anywhere.”

He said the survey found there was a huge gap between what customers wanted compared to what 34 of the country’s biggest brands were providing online, of which eleven were retailers from the consumer goods and grocery sectors.

In the report, industry analysis reveals that the grocery retail industry is the leading performer, yet on the whole still had more unsatisfied consumers than delighted ones. Banking and insurance were the next best performers, with telecommunications and utilities scoring lowest.

The retail groceries sector was ranked as delivering the best digital experience. However, it had the lowest level of engagement, with only 32 per cent of respondents doing their shopping online. This suggests that Australia’s online grocery shoppers are still a small yet engaged group of digitally savvy consumers. Telling as well, the retail groceries industry scored positively in the three attributes its consumers hold most dear: cohesive, integrated and simple; fits in with my life and is effortless and; available anytime time on my terms.

Several areas were identified as needing improvement by grocery retailers, including relevant offers without infringing on my privacy; excites and engages me; makes me love the brand; makes me feel important.

Similar to its groceries counterpart, the consumer goods retail industry scored positively for the three digital‑experience attributes most important to its customers. Unlike groceries, it is one of the most digitally engaged, with 62 per cent of respondents confirming an interaction. The report found, a vast majority of shoppers start purchases on a computer or mobile device and want to be digitally engaged in their shopping experiences. Expectations have never been higher for retailers to deliver consistent shopping experiences through online channels, mobile technology and social networks. scored the highest among consumer goods retailers. The online retailer’s executive director, David Shafer, puts the company’s success down to its relentless focus on “simple and beautiful ways to buy tens of thousands of products at the world’s best prices.” Additionally, he notes, the team at continually improve the shopping experience on its website, but importantly the systems and processes at the backend that power their operations as well.

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