retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a nationwide consumer survey by IBM's Institute for Business Value found:

-- 63 percent are shopping only for products on sale and using coupons more often.

-- 90 percent are sacrificing some spending, and 45 percent tapped fewer discretionary dollars in 2008 compared with 2007.

-- 30 percent of shoppers fall into a category IBM researchers called "shifters," those highly motivated to go elsewhere if they don't get what they want.”

However, despite all these changes, the Chronicle also reports that “the IBM survey, which refers to loyal customers as ‘advocates,’ found the number of people who remained loyal to a primary retailer doubled from 2007 to 2008. The report also found 31 percent of advocates said they actually increased their spending with their favored retailer within the past year … Retailers better able to weather this slowdown are those who have been able to turn an occasional shopper into a loyal customer.”

KC's View:
This may be because in tough times, trust is a valuable commodity. So is comfort. Both would seem to be integral to any real connectivity between a shopper and the retail experience.

And so, while low prices and a focus on value certainly are important in tough times, they are not valuable to the exclusion of all other values.

One other thing. I continue to believe that too many retailers define loyalty the wrong way, believing that they can buy it with low prices or certain services. It is far more effective and long-lasting, I believe, to think in terms of proving one’s loyalty to the shopper on a day-to-day basis.