Brands Have A Problem Being Loyal To Consumers

There is a pretty wide gap between what consumers want and expect, and what brands believe are important and deliver on.

Loyalty goes both ways. Marketers look for consumer loyalty without giving them what they want. Brands want flashy technology like augmented reality while consumers want the basics, such as being able to search and find products on a website.

The reality check was revealed in recent data from Deloitte Digital.

The data from U.S.-based consumers and executives at well-known retail brands showed 42% of consumer want a tailored website, but only 33% of brands prioritize that option. Some 50% of consumers want location-based personalized services, but only 29% of brands prioritize that option.

“There’s a big gap in the basics of ecommerce in how consumers rate the experience, compared with how brands believe they’re doing,” said Bobby Stephens, principal at Deloitte Digital. “About 80% of brands thought they did an excellent job, whereas about 50% of consumers thought they did an excellent job.”



The research was conducted by Lawless Research on behalf of Deloitte Digital from Sept. 14 to Oct. 19, 2023, based on the responses of 550 leaders in a commerce-related role at U.S.-based business-to-consumer companies with 1,000 or more employees and revenues of $100 million or more.

Brands want flashy technology such as augmented reality (AR) while consumers want the basics -- such as being able to search and find products on a website, with the ability to track shipping, make easy returns with instant credit back to the original purchase method, and simple cash-back loyalty products.

Three in four Gen X and Baby Boomer consumers say zooming in on a product or reading a detailed description is important. Gen Z and millennial consumers are twice as likely as older generations to say viewing the product using AR is valuable.

One in three consumers said they will stop buying from a brand in the last year because they do not like the brand’s return policy, while 64% said a brand’s return policy is very or extremely important to their purchasing decision.

Some 61% of consumers want simple cash-back loyalty programs, while 78% want free shipping on returns and 75% want immediate refunds.

Just 19% of brands describe their own loyalty programs as very easy to understand.

The report expanded into four areas where the data showed that the gap widened most to improve the commerce experiences and better align with consumer expectations.

Basics are important, but brands set and forget them, Stephens said. The data found a 20-percentage-point gap or more, in nearly every category, from website features and product availability to easy returns.

Consumers don’t want flashy technology. They just want brands to do what it takes to continually improve on capabilities and services.

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