More than half won't shop brands with difficult websites

Android is edging out iOS in terms of brand loyalty (Image Krystian Nawrocki / iStockPhoto)
A hard-to-navigate website can kill customer loyalty. (Krystian Nawrocki/iStockPhoto)

Convenience, experience, services and communications are the winning ingredients in keeping customers happy and loyal, according to a 2018 Loyalty Forecast from Fresh Relevance and research firm YouGov.

The first ingredient, convenience, goes without saying in 2018. Of those surveyed, 60% said they would stop buying from an online store if the website was hard to navigate. And an even higher rate of baby boomers, 71%, require an easy-to-navigate website. Nearly half of these shoppers, 46%, would think less of the brand overall due to a poor website, and 38% are highly unlikely to buy from the retailer if they have a bad mobile experience.

The second ingredient, experience, is also crucial, despite the popularity of online purchasing. As many as 43% of respondents said they want to try products before they buy online. In addition, 22% said they would prefer a brand that offers related amenities and experiences such as makeovers or personal stylists.

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Third, shoppers are looking for ease in shipping and returns. The services most requested in the survey include free returns, 69%; free two-day shipping, 68%; free pickup for returns, 65%; in-store returns for online purchases, 55%; and same-day shipping, 42%.

And what is not important, or contributing to the ease of shopping, is some of the emerging technology that retailers are testing out. Only 17% of respondents said scan-and-go checkout is critical, and just 12% care about pickup towers for online orders.

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The final ingredient, communications, needs to be targeted in 2018. More than 1 in 4 respondents said they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that sends tailored messages. However, 35% don't find being called by their first name to be an effective strategy.

Finally, 41% of consumers would drop a retailer that regularly emailed them irrelevant information, and 25% want to be sent recommendations based on items they've viewed or purchased.