What Drives Shopper Loyalty? (It Is More Than Lowest Price)

Each year at Bizrate Insights, we survey more than 27 million folks who have made purchases from any of the 5,000 retailers in our worldwide network. We don’t ask for any personal information (although from what and how they bought, we can deduce a lot about buyers.) What we do ask them is all about their experience with the retailer they just bought from.

While reports back to retailers give aggregated answers that show retailers not just how they are doing, but how they match up to their competition in scores of ways) in general, the things you think would matter to buyers like site design and on-time delivery turn out to be not nearly as important as things like customer support and that the product met expectations.

To better understand brand loyalty, Bizrate Insights asked about 13,000 ecommerce shoppers “What is the primary reason you chose to buy from this retailer? (by the way, to assure accuracy, we focused on shoppers who bought items that could be purchased from multiple retailers.) In other words, when product originality is out of the equation, why do shoppers choose one retailer over another?

Unsurprisingly, the top motivator was lowest price (which also encompasses added costs like shipping). Millennials as it turned out, proved to be the most price sensitive:

Gen Y 43%
Average 37%
Gen X 39%
Boomers 35%
Seniors 31%

So to convert casual buyers into loyalists who return again and again and make lots of purchases all retailers have to do is be among the lowest-priced providers right? Not exactly. They must also treat customers well. In fact, the second reason why customers chose to purchase from a specific retailer was because “they have treated me well in the past.” Boomers and Seniors are particularly dedicated to brands who’d treated them well before.

Seniors 16%
Boomers 16%
Average 13%
Gen X 12%
Gen Y 9%

Hayley Silver is Vice President of Bizrate Insights.

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