What Online And Multi-Brand Retailers Can Learn From Each Other

by CXOtoday News Desk    Apr 28, 2017

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While a lot is spoken and debated about who will win the retail game in India - online or e-commerce companies or multibrand retailers, a new study reveals that both online and multi-brand retailers still have plenty to learn from each other. E-commerce giants are performing well when it comes to customer recognition and personalisation, while multi-brand retailers excel at building trust and encouraging recommendations, reveals global loyalty marketing agency ICLP (A Collinson Group Company).

The agenct conducted a research showing where different retail sectors are performing most strongly in building loyalty with their customers. While online retailers including Amazon and Flipkart were shown to be performing best in customer recognition and personalization, multi-brand retailers including Big Bazaar and Shoppers Stop were shown to have built strong trust with Indian shoppers. They were also effective at encouraging their customers to make recommendations to friends and family.

For example, when it came to personalization and customer recognition, 70% of Amazon and 67% of Flipkart customers said that they were provided with relevant recommendations for products and services that were of interest to them. Furthermore, 63% of Amazon and 58% of Flipkart shoppers said that their chosen retailer had taken the time to really get to know them and understand what they want.

Meanwhile, multi-brand retailers have built strong relationships based on trust with their shoppers. 60% of Big Bazaar customers and 88% of Shoppers Stop customers said that the products offered by these retailers were of consistent quality and value for money. 54% of Big Bazaar shoppers and 94% of Shoppers Stop shoppers said that they were always treated with respect, and 65% of Big Bazaar and 82% of Shoppers Stop customers said that they recommended the brand to their friends and family regularly.

The results show the extent to which different retail sectors in India can learn from one another as they look to build loyalty and closer relationships with their customers. Working with Professor Rogge of the University of Rochester, ICLP applied Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love to the relationship between shoppers and brands, and defined the ideal, or ‘devoted’ relationship, as one where shoppers feel passion, intimacy, and commitment towards the brand.

As part of the research, ICLP asked shoppers questions to ascertain how they felt about the relationships they had with particular brands and their associated loyalty programs. The results demonstrated the areas where all brands could improve, despite their success in building strong relationships so far:

Retailers still have room for improvement: Indian shoppers do feel attached to the brands they shop from most often, but when looking at all retail brands, only 21% are currently in a devoted relationship

Programmes could do more to reward personal recommendations: Just 44% of Indian shoppers say that they are rewarded if they make a personal recommendation to one of their friends

Personal data should be used to full effect: Only 56% of Indian shoppers said that their chosen brand made relevant recommendations for products and services that interest them based on their personal data

Rewards need to be more tailored: Fewer than half of Indian shoppers (47%) said that they were rewarded with offers tailored to their individual needs. 

According to Anurag Saxena, Country Head & GM at ICLP, “Indian retailers are generally doing a good job when it comes to building strong and lasting relationships with their customers. However, in order to ensure that as many customers as possible are in a truly devoted relationship, different retail sectors can learn from one another.”

“Multi-brand retailers should look at how e-commerce brands have leveraged customer data points and segmented them on the basis of likes, preferences, shared interests on social media and their involvement in groups and communities. Meanwhile; ecommerce players need to understand that as gratifying as it is to receive a discount, a memorable experience with the brand is far more valuable,” he said.

The study concludes that by giving customers unique experiences as rewards strengthens the emotional bond customers have with the brand, ensuring the relationship continues long after the experience itself.