By  on January 17, 2008

Shoppers are most loyal to retailers with unusual offerings such as child care and online author chats, an IBM survey of more than 19,000 consumers has found. The most-loved retailers are also highly profitable. Surprisingly, consumers were most passionate about grocery stores and the least passionate about apparel retailers.

The survey found that only 21 percent of all consumers are "advocates" for a particular retailer. To be an advocate, a consumer would need to meet three stringent criteria: Recommend the retailer to friends and family, increase their purchases if the retailer added products found at other stores and stay with the retailer even if another store were to sell an identical product more cheaply. In contrast, fully 78 percent of consumers surveyed said their primary retailer meets their expectations.

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