Consumer Loyalty Isn’t What It Used to Be in Omnichannel Age, Study Finds

Consumer loyalty is up for grabs in 2020, according to a Criteo study, with 73% of shoppers open to taking a chance on brands they haven’t tried but have heard positive things about.

Criteo’s “Shopper Story 2020: The New Consumer Mindset” report surveyed 1,000-plus U.S. consumers, quantifying the evolution of shoppers into detectives who compare products, place a lot of stock in recommendations and reviews, look at brands and products across more channels than ever, and even take a peek at brands’ backgrounds and identities.

The trend of consumers checking out new brands is driven by discounts and offers, important factors for 93% of U.S. shoppers. According to Criteo:

  • 60% say they always take and use in-store coupons when they’re available
  • 51% often search for coupons online before making an online purchase
  • 53% clip coupons at home and use them in-store
  • 45% print out coupons from the internet and use them in-store

When starting the omnichannel shopping process, consumers increasingly conduct product searches on retailer or brand websites, Criteo found, rather than through a Google search or in a marketplace like Amazon.

In 2019, 40% of shoppers who knew the exact item they were seeking headed directly to a retailer/brand website, compared to 22% in 2017. Thirty percent who knew the category of item went to a retail/brand website, up from 21% in 2017.

Experiences consumers have while investigating identity and shopping online has become increasingly important. Twenty percent of shoppers reported their website experience is more influential now than in the past.

Citing Nike’s decision to stop selling on Amazon, Criteo said, “Rather than relying solely on giant distributors, we expect brands to build closer relationships with partners that are more transparent and mutually beneficial, as well as focusing on driving more traffic to their own websites.”

Even more influential are word-of-mouth and personal recommendations, which have been pervasive through social media, reviews, blogs, YouTube, question-and-answer websites and product pages.

Sixty-eight percent of U.S. shoppers have recommended a company based on a positive experience, while 59% have passed on a company based on a negative experience, Criteo found.

The 2019 survey reflects the degree to which shoppers are using multiple channels as part of a omnichannel approach to discover new brands:

  • Facebook – 49%
  • Websites – 46%
  • YouTube – 40%
  • Email – 36%
  • Instagram – 27%
  • Pinterest – 22%
  • Online influencers – 15%
  • Twitter – 14%
  • Snapchat – 12%
  • Blogs – 10%
  • Other – 9%

Sponsored ads also attract a lot of clicks. Most of this activity is happening on mobile, where apps reign supreme. Criteo cites data from Statista estimating there are 3.2 billion smartphone users in the world and by 2023, mobile apps are expected to generate more than $935 billion in sales.

Criteo found 57% of U.S. shoppers rely on apps to look at products and get ideas, while 55% use them to check out ratings and reviews and 58% to make purchases.

Despite the double-digit growth of ecommerce, 85% of retail sales still take place physical stores, Criteo found. A Harvard Business Review survey found omnichannel shoppers spend on average 4% more every time they buy in a store, and 10% more when shopping online, compared single-channel shoppers. Also, consumers who engaged with brands on multiple channels visited a physical store 23% more often over a six-month period, the same Harvard study showed.

Sixty-four percent of consumers head to stores based on the convenience of their location, Criteo found, while 52% respond to an immediate need for a product.

According to Criteo’s research, 26% of shoppers visited a store after receiving an online offer delivered via ads or email; 42% said they were drawn by in-store offers; 31% for the knowledgeable sales people, and 30% cited better ways to try products.

Overall, Criteo found 52% of shoppers look forward to shopping in stores when they have time, 41% enjoy shopping in stores to understand what’s in style or new, and 37% prefer to do as much online shopping as possible.

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