Loyal customers are repeat customers.
They are particularly valued because the cost of customer acquisition is high.
However, loyalty is not just about repeat business – otherwise, all repeat customers would be considered loyal, and they aren’t.
Repeat customers vs loyal customers
The difference is that loyal customers make a conscious choice to do business with a company even when a less expensive, more convenient or higher quality alternative is available somewhere else.
So why are customers loyal to a retailer when sometimes it seems illogical?
Because of that store’s superior customer service.
Creating an easy, frictionless shopping experience makes customers happy -- and that satisfaction can be parlayed into loyalty.
Converting online browsers into in-store customers
Only a few years back, brick and mortar stores were dying on the vine.
Customers were going online, finding the lowest price for items, checking them out in stores but buying them via e-commerce.
Soon, though, traditional retailers realized that those shoppers who were browsing but not buying could be turned into customers -- after all, they were in the store already.
Shoppers were saying they enjoyed the efficiency of e-commerce, but they also wanted to touch and feel certain items.
And other items benefited from having knowledgeable salespersons educate shoppers on features, uses, etc.
Building loyalty through mobile apps
Retailers are answering customers’ demands for more efficiency by adding mobile apps to their sales processes.
App Annie, an app market data and insights company, tracks usage and consumption for the average smartphone owner:
- Average daily use: 2 hours and 15 minutes
- Average number of apps installed: 60 to 90
- Average number of apps used monthly: 30
- Average number of apps launched daily: 9
With so many mobile phones in use, retailers are finding that the mobile app customers could be a key to increasing brand awareness, driving sales and increasing mindshare.
A survey of more than 500 mobile shoppers by research company Clutch, found that not only are consumers using e-commerce apps, but they’re also looking for features that go beyond browsing and buying: “Consumers want an easy, frictionless, and entertaining experience when using apps.”
Clutch noted that shoppers use e-commerce apps primarily for four reasons:
- To receive deals and offers (68%)
- For the flexibility to buy at any time (64%)
- To compare products and prices (62%)
- To save time at the store (54%)
The problem with mobile shopping apps
Too few retailers create apps with the consumer in mind.
What shoppers want to do with a retail app is what should drive app creation.
Retailers should develop a focused strategy when developing an app that targets the way shoppers use apps.
Many shoppers want apps that personalize the in-store experience, such as deal alerts, which are enabled when the customer is inside the physical store.
Also, Clutch reported that if an app syncs a business’ loyalty rewards, more than 80% of consumers would use the feature.
Mobile shopping apps are the future of unified retail.
Retailers should continue to increase their capabilities according to shoppers’ requests and usage patterns, and look to include discounts, rewards, personalization, and even augmented reality in the near future.