Brands approaching the market with out-of-date digital technology risk falling out of step with consumers, particularly the younger ones that so many companies covet.
That is among the conclusions of a study conducted for InContact Inc., a provider of cloud-based contact-center software, by Harris Interactive. Nearly 2,200 U.S. adults were surveyed and more than half — 56 percent — said they would be “at least somewhat likely” to switch brands or companies if a competitor offered more shopping and contact options and channels than the one in which they were engaged.
While the Baby Boomers and their elders showed greater signs of enduring brand loyalty, with 45 percent of those 55 and older saying they’d make such a switch, the number rises to nearly two-thirds, 64 percent, among those in Generations X and Y, ages 18 to 44.
The study also demonstrates a more tentative embrace of e-commerce than of brick-and-mortar retailing. Customers are more inclined to feel brand loyalty towards retail store brands than they are toward e-commerce players by a margin of more than two-to-one, 41 percent to 19 percent. RELATED CONTENT: WWD Research Roundup >>
As a marketer of cloud-based software used by call centers in retail and other industries, InContact has a vested interest in encouraging businesses to get on the cloud bandwagon, which allows easier integration of devices covering the digital landscape from telephones and smartphones to personal computers and tablets.
Even so, the study shows some clear trends in the precarious nature of brand loyalty in the 21st century. For instance, Harris found a greater propensity in men than women to have an attachment to a brand or other established nameplate, with 79 percent saying they feel loyalty to brands versus 71 percent of the women.
For nearly two-thirds of respondents, a 1-800 number simply won’t cut it any longer. Sixty-three percent indicated that brands which don’t offer other options for communication on matters of sales and service seem “outdated or old-fashioned,” and almost seven in eight, 86 percent, expect brands to offer multiple options and flexible timing to interact with customer service.
Seven in 10 consumers consider the availability of a mobile app at least somewhat important as a service feature, a figure that is highest among those 18 to 24 (84 percent) and lowest for those 55 and up (58 percent).
“The survey results are clear,” said Paul Jarman, chief executive officer of Salt Lake City-based InContact. “Consumers expect more choices and more ways to interact with business today. The smartest companies are quickly adapting to changing consumer behaviors and needs, extending customer service beyond just phone and e-mail to mobile apps, text messaging, chat and social media.”
The age correlation pattern in the brand loyalty data is understandable in light of the higher rates of high-tech device ownership among younger consumers. In a recent survey on plans for Easter purchasing by the National Retail Federation, the percentage of tablet and smartphone owners was in inverse proportion to age, with just 15.3 percent of those 18 to 24 not owning either a smartphone or a tablet, versus 16.9 percent for those 25 to 34, 21.5 percent for those 35 to 44, 35.1 percent for those 45 to 54, and 46.6 percent for those 55 to 64. The only demographic bracket in which a majority — in this case 61.8 percent — didn’t own either device was the group over 65.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)