Upping the wow factor builds brand loyalty

June 29, 2009
June 29, 2009 - At a time when Canadian retailers are challenged to attract increasingly cautious consumers to their stores, a new survey by Retail Council of Canada, Verde Group and the Baker Retailing Initiative at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania reveals that meeting this challenge may not be as complicated and expensive you might think.

A survey of Canadian and American shoppers conducted last month found that employee engagement and a great "brand experience" rank highest among factors contributing to an exceptional shopping encounter. Consumers in both countries indicate that polite staff who are genuinely interested in helping and who listen carefully to the customer's wants and needs go a long way to leaving a lasting impression.

The study also revealed that unlike their American counterparts, Canadian consumers indicate exciting store design and atmosphere play a significant role in creating a "wow" experience.

"In these tough economic times, retailers are working hard to control their costs while continuing to provide value to their customers," says Andrew Siegwart, Vice President, Retail Council of Canada. "The results of this survey will certainly assist our members as they navigate their way through the current recession and look for new and innovative ways to attract and retain customers."

"When a customer truly has that 'wow' experience, our study shows that their loyalty to that store increases dramatically," says Paula Courtney, President, Verde Group. "What we've also found is that price is not always the main ingredient for building customer loyalty."

Key findings:

  • Over 50% of shoppers reported having an "especially great" shopping experience either within the past 6 months or at some point in their shopping history
  • On average, a shopper who has a "great" experience will tell 4.5 other people about it
  • Generally, the more "great" experiences a shopper has, the more likely they are to talk about them
  • Shoppers who have a great experience are 80% more loyal than those that don't

"Discovering the WOW in the Retail Shopping Experience — 2009" was a study conducted with over 1,006 respondents using an online panel with 60% American and 40% Canadian consumers between May 11 and May 13, 2009. All respondents were randomly selected and qualified if they had purchased products at a retail store in the past month.

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