Retail wins on customer loyalty, finds new Affinion research

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The study, conducted by customer engagement specialist Affinion in partnership with Oxford Brookes University, set out to understand the factors that influence a customer’s overall engagement with their favourite retailer. These findings form part of a bigger research project which also asked respondents to answer questions about their feelings towards their banks and mobile phone providers.

The research revealed that retailers had an overall Customer Engagement Score of 68, compared with banks which came second with 67 and mobile phone providers ranked third with a score of 64. The ‘Customer Engagement Score’ is a mark out of 100 which was developed as a metric from the research to show how engaged a consumer is based on their responses to a series of questions about their relationship with these three industries.

The report revealed how engagement with retailers varies by country, with Turkey, Brazil and America consumers revealed to be the most engaged with scores of over 70. In contrast, respondents from Denmark, Finland and Norway reported the lowest levels of customer engagement, with scores in the low 60s. In retail, the UK secured a score of 68, consistent with the global average of 68.

The level of engagement across age groups was relatively high, with 25 – 34 year olds found to have the most attachment with an overall score of 71. The lowest level of engagement was identified in the 65+ age range, with an overall score of 64.

When it comes to gender, female respondents showed the highest level of attachment to their favourite retailers (69) compared with their bank (66) or mobile phone provider (63). In contrast, male respondents had the same level of engagement with their favourite retailer and bank, with both industries scoring 68.

UK country manager of Affinion, Karen Wheeler, said: “This research provides fascinating insight into how engagement varies by country and industry and, while the retail industry came top for customer engagement, there is still room for improvement.

“Our study also proves that customers who buy additional products or services and interact more frequently via multiple channels are more engaged. But taking that further and offering products or services that add value to their daily lives is what will really help a company to build meaningful relationships with its customers.”

“Overall, the customers with higher engagement scores also stated that they are more likely to stay with a business for longer, spend more and recommend a brand or business to family and friends. Brand advocacy is ultimately what all businesses are striving for, so this report offers significant lessons from which businesses can learn as they strive to increase customer retention and drive business growth.”

Professor in Marketing & Consumer Psychology at Oxford Brookes University, Janine Dermody, commented: “Customer loyalty is strongest in the retail industry, which is likely to reflect the nature of the customer retail interactions. But given the pleasure associated with shopping, you might have expected scores to be even higher.

“With the results varying across countries, gender and age groups, this insight can be used to develop a number of different customer profiles. For example, the fact that Brazil and Turkey consistently exceed the global metrics across all three industries, points towards the increasing presence and importance of emerging markets and their impact on the growth of the global economy.”

The research asked 18,447 consumers from 13 countries questions on their attitudes towards their banks, telcos providers and retailers, including about customer experience and relationship quality.