Many customers are drawn to a business solely because of the money they can save by shopping there. People are also becoming more fickle when bargain-hunting – they will switch brands in a heartbeat if they can get a better deal across the road from their regular supplier, or online.
There is another kind of customer, and perhaps another kind of business, where loyalty built over time plays a big part in the relationship. What’s going on here, and why is it important?
The interesting thing is that when people are lastingly loyal to a brand, they say it has little to do with money. Rather, it’s all about perception – the brand means something to them in terms of the quality of service they receive, or perhaps they’re attracted to the brand’s reputation and the way it’s promoted.
So, people are loyal to a brand that they can connect with on an emotional level, regardless of financial considerations.
I think that it’s also easier to stick to one brand, even though you might occasionally pay more for their goods. In the long term, developing that relationship will yield benefits for those on both sides of the counter. I know that when I am a customer I will try to stay with one provider for as long as possible, and I always aim to support local business people first.
For example, my wife has gone to the same hairdresser for more than 10 years, probably longer. I'm sure she could get her hair cut somewhere else cheaper, but her hairdresser will give her hair products for free, and sometimes offer discounts. A friendship has grown between them as well.
In my business life, the benefits of having customers who are loyal to the Happy Chemist brand are not always financial. Many of our customers have been with us since we opened for business 21 years ago, and we have become friends, too. To me that really means something.