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Brands lag behind in loyalty programs

A mystery shopping study by Astound finds that brands lag behind specialty retailers in almost all aspects of the commerce experience, including loyalty programs. The recent study compared the desktop, mobile, and in-store experiences of 50 specialty retailers and 50 global brands.

To maintain a loyal customer base, fast delivery options and strong benefit programs are becoming increasingly important. But brands lag behind in loyalty programs. Only 22 % of brands have a loyalty program, compared to 60 % of specialty retailers.

The same thing applies to mobile shopping applications. Three out of four specialty retailers have a mobile app. But less than a quarter of brands can say the same thing.

The role of the physical store has changed dramatically, from purchase to research and product display.

In this new battleground, technological capabilities are key. But it is clear that brands haven’t yet adapted to in-store technology. Only 40 % of brands are providing digital kiosks in store, while 88 % of specialty retailers are using this technology in their locations.

“In our most recent research, it’s clear that brands and retailers are in a race to differentiate their shopping experience online and across all channels in a way that both inspires and keeps customers coming back,” said Lauren Freedman, SVP of Digital Strategy and Chief Merchant of Astound Commerce.

“Our research found that specialty retailers are providing more advanced technologies at every touchpoint to survive. Many have been in the game for a decade or more and have honed their selling skills, putting them in a powerful position.”

It is clear that brands need to step up their efforts to maintain a loyal customer base. Embracing digital technology and building strong loyalty programs will be key elements in winning the battle against specialty retailers.