While apparel brand Lifestyle’s ‘Life is Good’brand donates 10% of its net profits to Life is Good Kids Foundation, Everlane promotes ‘radical transparency’ as a core business value by openly sharing details about product labour costs, water recycling efforts and so on. Further, luxury soap maker Lush, in addition to donating all its proceeds from its Charity Pot lotion;hosts in-store demonstrations that support the brand’s commitment to environmental conservation, animal welfare, and human rights.
And what’s common with all these brands? They all have business values that resonate with their shoppers’ values.
According to the latest study ‘Shopper –First Retailing’ by Salesforce, today’s shoppers are relationship-driven and favor brands that bring value and meaning to their lives. Brands must look for new ways to differentiate by appealing to customers’ emotions and forging connections based on shared beliefs and most often shoppers reward the brand that go beyond transactions and orders to be relevant and resonate. The study stresses that retailers can give meaning to brands when the brand value resonates with shoppers’ value, drives loyalty and gives importance to personalization.
Value shoppers’ values
The study further highlights that globally, at least 9 out of 10 top scoring brands have above average scores in emotional connection with its customers, while 45 per cent of shoppers were more likely to buy from brands and retailers that offered a charitable donation with purchase.
It says, “Today’s shoppers seek to put their wallets where their values are. Brands can appeal to shoppers’ emotions in any number of ways – through donations, activism, material sourcing, or advocacy. Many brands have significantly increased their efforts in this area.”
Commenting on this trend, Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth & Innovation Evangelist, Salesforce, observes, “Customers remember the experience they have with a brand longer than the price they paid. Social responsibility is part of that experience and it impacts the way brands must market and differentiate their products.”
How to win loyal customers
Meanwhile, suggesting that shoppers reward brands that create lasting relationships over time — specifically through loyalty programs and 1-to-1 personalization efforts that extend across both digital and physical channels, the study says 66 per cent of shoppers were likely to buy from brands offering a loyalty program. Citing examples of tech giants like Amazon, the study stresses that 9 out of 10 top brands had clear evidence of a strong loyalty program.
It says, “We are in a new era of loyalty programs that aren’t just about accruing points, but about rewarding shoppers with better experiences and building more meaningful relationships. In some cases, these loyalty programs cross into the membership territory, as they prove to be so valuable that customers are willing to pay for them.”
“A modern loyalty program isn’t about the points. It’s not a transaction or an exchange. It’s about a sense of belonging and participation. Great loyalty programs are about a brand relationship that the customer wants to bring into their everyday life,” says Zachary Paradis, VP (Experience Strategy) of Publicis.Sapient, in whose association the study was conducted.
It’s all about personalization
As a customer walks in to the store of Sephora, a digital world of beauty wellness comes to life. A customer can not only get results in-store from Color IQ, Fragrance IQ, and Skin Care IQ cosmetic kiosks, they can even sync them with their Sephora digital account. The Sephora app recommends in-store products based on previous purchases once users select the in-store mode. These recommendations are individual-specific and most often connect with customers instantly.
While personalization already has a measurable impact on customers’ shopping experience, the study reveals that personalized experiences yield 4.5x higher cart rate in e-commerce and 5x higher per visit spend.
“Personalization might take the form of personalized search results on an ecommerce site, predictive ‘you might also like’ recommendations, or a store associate studying a shopper’s past purchases before offering up new items to try on in-store,” the study says.