Clarus Commerce CEO Tom Caporaso reveals what we learned about customer loyalty during the 2017 holiday shopping season and recommends what retailers should think about going forward.
(As originally published on PaymentsSource on December 27th, 2017.)
With shoppers on the hunt for the best deals wherever they can get them this holiday season, it may seem like customer loyalty falls to the side. And according to a recent study, it does.
We asked FreeShipping.com members about their holiday shopping habits and the results, while interesting, weren’t all that surprising.
When asked which factors they valued most, only 4% of members, we found, valued loyalty to a brand or retailer as the most important thing when doing their holiday shopping this year. This was less than any other factor.
Additionally, 40% of members said they’d shop at more than one retailer this year, compared with around 23% back in 2013, showing a pretty significant decrease in loyalty.
So, what factors matter the most to shoppers this holiday season? 44.7% of members told us that they valued free shipping the most followed by price at 35.8%. What did they dislike the most about holiday shopping? 47.4% said that the huge crowds of people were their biggest frustration.
Even though loyalty is down across the board, it starts to make sense that 75% of all holiday shoppers planned to use Amazon to purchase gifts. That number is even higher at 90% for Amazon Prime members.
With Amazon’s premium loyalty program Prime, consumers know they are going to get free shipping and fantastic prices without bumping into people in stores, waiting in extremely long lines, or fighting over parking spaces at the mall.
This year, Amazon’s Cyber Monday was its biggest sales day ever. Amazon dominates during the holiday shopping season because Prime offers customers benefits every day. That allows it to maintain a position of dominance year-round.
It’s so important for retailers not to put all their emphasis on sales and promotions during the holidays only, but rather focus on loyalty as a year-round strategy. In fact, we found that 26.2% of members didn’t even shop during the holidays last year.
When retailers rely on traditional promotions and points programs, they simply train consumers to wait for discounts, and that supports our survey findings. That’s why they shop around and that’s why they’re becoming less and less loyal.
On the other hand, premium loyalty programs, like Prime, become integrated into the lives of consumers. Consumers pay a premium to become members, but in return, they get things like fast and free shipping, low prices and other exclusive perks.
Naturally, consumers are going to do their holiday shopping with a retailer they’re invested in all the time, and that’s why retailers like Restoration Hardware are jumping on board with premium loyalty.
When price and free shipping are the biggest drivers for consumers, premium loyalty programs for retailers have a built-in leg up on the competition.