Jack's of no trade: 8 drivers of customer loyalty


There’s more to customer loyalty than price


Last week, Tesco’s dalliance with budget retailing came to an end as the retail giant announced the closure or rebranding of its Jack’s discount shops. Originally set up to combat budget competitors like Aldi and Lidl, there has been widespread conjecture about the reasons behind the experiment’s demise. There is more to a customer’s loyalty, it would seem, than price points alone.


Many articles have been written on the subject, and several main themes have emerged. (Here's the BBC round-up, in case you missed it), While many have commented that Tesco customers would probably rather see more price cuts in their main Tesco stores rather than opting for a different budget range in a separate shop, another interesting point has risen to the surface. Tesco, perhaps, underestimated the fierce loyalty that Aldi and Lidl customers have for their beloved, eccentric, get-it-while-you-can budget stores.


So what DOES drive customer loyalty?


There are many factors that determine where a person might choose to spend their hard-earned money; and price definitely isn’t the only factor.


At Ten-25, we work with merchants who, in turn, work with trade and private customers to provide the materials they need to accomplish particular projects. Whatever scale those projects are, the basic needs of the customer are generally the same – the right products in the right place at the right time for a reasonable price. And if a merchant can consistently and reliably deliver all that, then that customer is more likely to return, time and time again.


Here are a few of the factors we have identified as crucial – what would you add to the list?


1. Range


If you’re a builder working on a particular project, you need to be able to get the products, tools and materials you require to complete the job. You also need to be able to compare different solutions, see the product safety and certification specs and allow the end user – whether commercial or domestic – a suitable range of choice.


Your stock profile is therefore crucial. If you earn a reputation for carrying a great range of stock, whether on hand in-branch or via a website, your customers will know you’re a good option for what they, and their own customers, need.


2. Convenience


Never underestimate the importance of convenience. If you can save a customer time and effort, whether in terms of the options you provider for purchase / delivery / collection, or in terms of the range you stock or the location of your branches, you’re going to score some extra points.


Thanks to the internet there is usually plenty of choice for the tradesperson or private customer to source material or products, so the more convenient and easy you can make the whole process of sourcing from you, the more likely they are to become loyal.


3. Service


Often one of the most critical factors, service is commonly the factor that sets one merchant apart from another. When competition is fierce, good service can be a major differentiator, so it’s really important to make sure your whole workforce is aligned on your customer service protocol.


4. Transparency


Confusing multibuy offers and tangled communications don’t help customers to understand the value they’re getting, and if information isn’t clear and readily available, they’ll soon go elsewhere. People are often wary and cynical, and it’s very easy to compare prices and products with other outlets, so make sure your offering is clear, simple and easy to understand, and isn’t in any way trying to obscure or mislead.


5. Value


Very different to price, value is about what you get for your investment. Ecommerce results and stats prove unequivocally that price is not the critical factor for purchase – but no-one wants to feel exploited or ripped off either. So consider the value proposition you’re offering – if people feel they’re getting all the other boxes on the list ticked off, chances are the perceived value of what they’re getting will be a lot more favourable.


6. Ethics


This is something that is becoming more and more evident in today’s marketplace, with issues like diversity and inclusion, accessibility, gender equality and sustainability being just a few of the most important topics. Customers these days can often care very deeply about the ethics of the organisations they choose to work with, so if your values are important to your whole business, don’t be afraid to share them.


7. Personality


This could be the “je ne said quois” part of the list but really, it’s about people choosing to purchase from people and places that they like. The personality of your brand is about more than the logo or the social media posts you’re writing – it’s about the whole ethos, service proposition and experience that people have when interacting with your company at any point. So yes, it’s social media, but it’s also quotes, estimates, invoices, emails, phone manner, staff friendliness, branding, environmental consideration, values, layout and everything in between. Be likeable = be liked.


8. Customer Experience


This encompasses all of the above really, and it boils down to this: if someone’s experience of buying from you is pleasant, easy and convenient, they’re more like to come back. That can be anything from how accessible the in-branch toilets are or how spacious the car park is to the ease of navigation on your website and the consideration and friendliness of your delivery drivers. Customer experience is imperative – the more you value your customers and give them a good time, the more loyal they’ll be in return.


What would you add to the list? What makes YOUR customers come back to you time and time again?



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