Customer loyalty on the decline

Over 60 percent of Australian consumers identify themselves as ‘apathetic’ in their choice of a primary retailer, a new survey has revealed.

The IBM study of almost 2000 Australians found that just over half that number consider themselves to be advocates of a particular retailer, which means that retailers have to work harder than ever to capture shopper loyalty.

“The state of retail is in flux between the era of bricks and mortar and a blended experience where digital, physical, and automated processes all play an equally significant role,” says Ian Wong, retail industry leader of IBM Global Business Services in Australia and New Zealand.

“While this rapid transition is a challenge, it presents unprecedented opportunity for retailers to leverage this innovation to connect with and inspire long-lasting customer loyalty.”

Wong believes Australian retailers must captivate consumer attention with new concepts across more channels, such as on mobile devices and social media platforms, or risk falling by the wayside.

The survey highlights that mobile devices are becoming an essential part of the shopping experience, with nearly half of respondents owning a smartphone and more than a quarter owning a tablet device.

Almost 40 percent of respondents stated they were unsure whether their next non-grocery purchase would be in-store or online.

“As high-speed broadband rolls out across Australia, retailers need to factor in how mobile devices and other emerging channels will guide consumers to the point of purchase,” says Wong.

“[Consumers are] increasingly a balance between the sensory experience of the high-street store and the ubiquitous convenience of buying online, whether that be through mobile technologies or even more progressive means.”

Katharina Kuehn, director of RDG Insights, says that the key to capturing customer loyalty is “utilising all the channels in a seamless way to be there for the right consumer, at the right time, and in the way the consumer wants it.”

Kuehn believes this is highlighted in the rising trend of Australian consumers demanding personalisation, with 44 percent expecting retailers to offer promotions and product recommendations based on past purchases.

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