Brand switching and loyalty are a constant challenge for retail brands. With so much choice for consumers, any disruptions or problems can ultimately break loyalties and encourage consumers to try alternative products. Over the past year, the pandemic has seen a change in consumer behaviour and a rise of experimental shopping. According to the Wise Marketer, around 32% of UK consumers tried an alternative brand in 2020, with 97% of them contemplating re-purchasing a newly tried item.
With UK opinions influenced by issues such as the pandemic, Brexit and climate change, consumers are increasingly more conscious of their purchases and what is available in-store.
Remaining loyal to a brand is not a particular concern for consumers. Supply chain shortages, panic buying, sustainability and affordability are now at the forefront of their decision making. With such a large variety of brands on offer in the shops, why should customers stay loyal to a particular brand instead of switching? Availability and visibility, placement, customer service and value for money underpin consumer opinions and shopping trends, which in turn influence loyalty.
What makes consumers switch to other brands?
The quest for brand loyalty is a struggle faced by many businesses in the sector, as consumers have become increasingly affected by current issues and trends. Presently, UK shops and brands are facing the impact of Covid-19 and Brexit on supply chains which has significantly affected availability. One of the recent issues facing the industry, as a result, is the shortage of HGV lorry drivers delivering goods from suppliers to distribution centres, and onwards to retail stores. We’re witnessing the sector having to adapt to structural changes, which has resulted in consumers choosing alternatives when faced with empty shelves. Retail Gazette reports that one in six Brits were unable to buy some essential food items during the last two weeks of September due to the shortages, according to data from the Office of National Statistic (ONS). Consumers are no longer prepared to wait for their favourite products
, and now turn to alternatives when options become limited.
Alongside the pandemic and Brexit, consumers also have become more environmentally conscious. The impact of climate change has influenced an increase in sustainability trends, with consumers prepared to switch to brands and products which are seen as more sustainable. Approximately two-thirds of consumers seek greater clarity on what materials or ingredients are being used in the production process, as well as the product’s origin. With the increase in ‘green’ awareness, consumers are prepared to switch from brands that can’t demonstrate their sustainability credentials. From packaging to product source, consumers are mindful of and in tune with the brands they purchase, looking to align their values with that of the brand.
Additionally, online shopping has opened channels for experimentation and a bigger choice of products, introducing the notion of convenience and ease. If something is not available in store, there is an accepted attitude for turning to online shopping. The ONS Report shows that the proportion of retail sales online rose to 27.7% in August 2021 from 27.1%, substantially higher than the 19.7% in February 2020. However, online shopping and click-and-collect systems increase the possibility of brand switching, so if a particular product is not available on-shelf, the picker is instructed to choose an alternative on the consumer’s behalf. This does not just lead to lost sales but also opens the door to longer term brand switching when the consumer is exposed to alternative products.
The importance of availability and visibility
So, why is availability so important when it comes to brand loyalty? Stock gaps and empty shelves can be incredibly frustrating for shoppers and brands alike. With gaps on shelf, opportunities open for consumers to try the closest comparable variant of their favourite product. According to research conducted by Think With Google, convenience and speed led purchase decisions in 2020, with 44% of consumers buying products in better availability. In addition, a Deloitte study found that 45% of consumers were happy to spend more on products that were convenient and easy to access. Products need to be in the right place at the right time as this leads to a smoother shopper experience, and the chance to overcome the competition.
Availability also has a direct correlation to visibility and placement on the shop floor. Visibility can support the value of product merchandising, which leads to higher consumer engagement and brand loyalty. For a consumer, being able to see the product on the shelf can assist in facilitating purchasing decisions. In essence, the on-shelf visibility can be the driving force of consumers choosing a specific brand.
Both availability and visibility contribute to the shopper journey; with these in mind a brand can create a strategy to cultivate brand loyalty in the disaffected world we live in. Brand loyalty is not as straightforward as we would wish, but if the key factors of availability and visibility are at play, brands can see a detectable rise in customer retention. Availability, visibility and customer experience are perfect ingredients to get you started.
So how can Logobrand ensure loyalty?
We live in a diverse world, in which consumer demands grow every day, underpinned by popular trends and cultural shifts. Loyalty is no longer just a one-way road, as consumers are more discerning, looking for substance and brand values that go beyond just the product on the shelf. Logobrand is on hand to help you establish shopper loyalty and ensuring you retain your customers. We know how important availability and visibility is, as well as consistency and facilitating the shopper journey.
All brands are affected by loyalty, and we can help improve your on shelf-availability and optimise your visibility in-store. Neglecting on-shelf availability can lead to gaps or even worse, out-of-stocks. This not only leads to lost sales but also impacts the shopper experience. It has never been more important to ensure your products are available on-shelf and visible to shoppers to give your brand the competitive edge and help boost sales. Our expert field sales team is always ready to help you with all your availability issues because we know that availability and visibility connects to shopper experience and links directly to brand loyalty.
So, how do we help brands with on-shelf availability to maximise sales and ensure loyalty? Our tried and tested dual approach consists of data-led support and on-site field sales deployment, so you can rest at ease, knowing your brand is in safe hands. We are equipped with the right technology and store and SKU specific stock and sales insights, meaning our team can make informed decisions and have meaningful conversations to ensure retailer compliance and fix availability gaps fast. Our actions speak louder than words; by integrating technology with retailer EPOS, we achieved some impressive results for Britvic, reducing availability gaps by 26% in stores and delivered a positive return on investment.
How can our services help you earn brand loyalty?
- Effective merchandising
- Fixing those on-shelf availability gaps by deploying an agile field representative in-store to tackle those retailer compliance or stock replenishment issues
- Increasing visibility. With additional sites and visual merchandising, your product sales will soar
- Rectifying store and SKU level problems where retailer EPOS data is available
- Identifying stores that need support and pinpointing products that are experiencing availability issues, out of stocks, and therefore lost sales
- Regaining share of shelf. We’ll ensure the correct number of facings are present to keep your consumers engaged and the shelves fully stocked
- Driving SEL compliance – it’s getting back to basics, but we know shoppers don’t buy products without knowing the cost
At Logobrand, our dedicated team of field marketing experts will help you maximise sales in-store and deliver a positive return on your investment. We’re really proud of the clients we’ve worked with, including some of Britain’s best-loved brands. We don’t like to toot our own horn, but our recent wins of seven different awards at the FMBE awards, including GOLD in Field Marketing Agency of the Year, speak for themselves…
If you’d like to find out how to maximise sales in–store, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.