Having asked and read research of those who have asked consumers what is most important to them, price tops the list time and again. That is, until recently. This change should be welcome, among even discounters.
There’s mounting evidence to support that it is relevance consumers increasingly seek: Eagle Eye, the digital marketing company where I work, surveyed 4,000 consumers about what influences their choice of retailer.1
Unsurprisingly, price came out top. However, a variety of relevant and timely promotions, discounts ranked a close second, followed by a loyalty scheme or other types of rewards recognising continued custom in third.
Simply put: if customers aren’t looking for a bargain, they are looking for a better deal, level of service, or recognition from businesses they frequent than if they were an anonymous, one time, cash-paying customer.
Using data to drive customer insight
Consider also, these are the 20-50% of your customers that are not only your most frequent but, as such, are also likely to drive some 80% of your sales. This is a lesson early grocery loyalty schemes learned 30 years ago.
I would contend that getting to know who your best customers are and using this knowledge to improve their customer experience (CX) should be a prerequisite of any attempt to recognise them or increase relevance.
Every consumer business must understand how to offer transactional and emotional value in the form of cost-savings, added convenience, or increased recognition and/or relevance in order to win with customers today.
Even in categories other than grocery and food and beverage, which can rely on frequency to provide the value exchange of loyalty points for a view of habits and preferences, the “give to get” dynamic is very real.
Using this dynamic to improve the CX is even easier in today’s digital world, where joining up a view of customers’ online and offline shopping journeys should also be a priority. Use data to drive this insight.
So, ideally, a business should ensure any data-driven customer insight is used to guide action that can drive loyalty, as well as one more visit or sale. Even better to incentivise them to identify themselves each time too.
Enhancing the customer experience
The good news is customers are more willing to share their information if you can make their CX faster, more convenient, useful and, of course, relevant. Engaging digitally, via mobile, can provide these capabilities.
Time has also proven that, in spite of all the technological innovation over the last few decades, customers still appreciate basic communications that recognise and, if possible, thank them for their regular custom.
Other tactics include using promotions to track and measure the cost of customer acquisition and retention. But, again, not knowing your best customers can make it difficult to optimally flex spend between the two.
All of these activities should be used to create a virtuous circle, where customer engagement and feedback can power an iteratively compelling total offer capable of competing on and offline, on experience and price.
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1 Eagle Eye, (2018) The Digital Imperative: Harnessing the Power of ‘Now’ with Performance-driven Marketing, 17 October
Originally published Mar 11, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023