Aldi and M&S Simply Food have topped the charts as the most loved retailers in the UK, according to a new study of 96,000 consumers from Savanta. The research, which rates the top 100 retailers by how loved they are by consumers, also identifies a direct correlation between an emotive brand connection and commercial return.
Brand love has a positive impact on customer word-of mouth and commitment, as well as the willingness to pay a price premium. A loved brand is also more likely to be forgiven in the instance of a poor experience.
“The top three brands of Amazon, Aldi and M&S Simply Food are unified by customer connection: they’ve all nailed one or more of the key factors in retail: value, a clear product advantage, and convenience. Amazon leads with convenience, Aldi offers great value for money, and M&S Simply Food tempts us with its premium, yet accessible, and innovative (take a look at its Plant Kitchen) range.”
“All three have built customer relationships which go beyond the functional. Our data highlights the importance of making a deeper and more personal connection in a climate of fierce competition and abundant choice. The greater the emotive brand connection, the greater the commercial return.”
The study reveals the dominance of brands who win at convenience – most notably those with strong online presence. The internet has disrupted retail in many ways and particularly around the psychology of ‘convenience’. At number one in the table Amazon overwhelmingly is winning online, and is the driver of change.
Beyond convenience, showing a retailer offers value is a distinct advantage, the data suggests. Discounters such as Aldi, in second place, have created a connection with UK consumers. M&S, too, emerges as the one positive aspect of the brand in the last few years with its indulgent premium offer and innovation through its Plant Kitchen range.
Hawkings continues: “Whilst these are undoubtedly turbulent times for the retail industry, our research highlights the opportunities there are for brands to survive and thrive. Retailers need to establish deeper, more emotive brand connections with customers, which ensure standout and differentiation. The brands most adept at fully embracing true customer affinity – or love – will prosper.”
Data is drawn from Savanta’s market intelligence platform, BrandVue Retail: the largest and most comprehensive brand, audience and customer tracking engine in the market.