UK e-commerce businesses need to work harder to prevent consumers switching brands, research shows

Fresh Relevance today announced the results of new research into how willing UK consumers are to switch brands, what influences their decision and the impact the pandemic has had on brand loyalty. The independent survey was conducted by Censuswide who polled 2000 consumers in the UK.

The results should alert eCommerce brands to the need to up their customer loyalty game. More than one in three consumers polled stated that they have no problem switching brands and almost half would switch to a different brand depending on the circumstances. There has also been a recent shift in buying behaviour, with more brand switching since the start of the pandemic and almost one in four consumers purchasing from a brand they had not tried prior to the peak season (Black Friday and Christmas) 2021.

CEO & co-founder of Fresh Relevance, Mike Austin, offers the following advice: “There are a number of easy yet highly impactful ways to improve customer loyalty and deter consumers from switching brands. These include optimising out-of-stock pages, implementing a referral program, segmenting returning customers to target them with loyalty perks, and setting up triggered emails, such as replenishment messages, to improve customer service.”

Likelihood of consumers to switch brands

The research shows that eCommerce brands need to work hard to keep consumers from switching to a different brand. More than one in three consumers (35%) frequently try new brands and have no problem switching from a brand they have used previously. Almost half of consumers (42%) say they prefer shopping with brands they have previously shopped with but would switch to a different brand depending on the circumstances.  

Why consumers switch brands

Consumers are price sensitive, with 40% of respondents having switched brands in the past because a different brand offered a better price. Family and friend referrals and the desire to try something new are also causes for change, along with stock availability (cited as an issue by one in three consumers).

Austin adds: “Whilst it might be unrealistic to frequently add new products to your store, things can be kept fresh and engaging through the use of targeted promotions, recommending related or similar products to those the customer usually buys.” He adds: “Recommendations along with back-in-stock email are two fundamentals in combating stock related customer churn.”

Why consumers stay loyal to brands

In addition to price, convenience is a key factor when it comes to loyalty, with over one in four consumers (27%) staying loyal to brands that make it easy to buy again. Delivering great customer service (24%) is also a key factor in retaining loyal customers.

How the Covid-19 pandemic has affected customer loyalty

Almost half of consumers (47%) surveyed say their switching habits have not changed because of the pandemic. However, almost a quarter (23%) did state they have switched more frequently since the pandemic began.

Brand switching habits over peak season 2021

23% of consumers said they did try a new brand during Black Friday or Christmas 2021. This was particularly the case for younger consumers, with 38% of respondents aged 16-34 saying they purchased from a brand for the first time during this period. Again, this reflects changing consumer behaviour and is something for eCommerce businesses to be aware of next peak season.

The survey report is available from Fresh Relevance now.