The B2B loyalty landscape has undergone significant change in the past five years, especially among small business customers. Nowhere has this change been more pronounced than the building and contractor industries where hundreds of thousands of small business operators spend millions of dollars to buy materials, supplies, equipment, and services needed to do their jobs. Who they buy from and how they buy is complex. Historical patterns once dominated by visits to wholesalers and distributors, though still important, no longer command the bulk of purchases. Loyalty marketing and reward programs are shifting as the landscape shifts. COVID-19 accelerated a shift that was already occurring.
With new construction industry jobs expected to balloon by almost 2 million in 2022, new contractor research sheds light on tradespeople’s attitudes and preferences about loyalty programs. The Drilling Down: 2022 Contractor’s Loyalty Report reveals that 40% of contractor dollar purchases are now made online with 60% in store or via distributors. Nearly 90% of those surveyed want to be rewarded for all purchases — regardless of channel — and 91% have already made an online purchase.
The quantitative survey of US contractors was sponsored by B2B Loyalty Specialist Reward Paths and undertaken by The Wise Marketer in October 2021. Over 250 geographically and demographically balanced contractors in the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, roofing, and landscaping sectors were surveyed. Key findings include:
- 72% of contractors currently participate in loyalty marketing programs with many of them participating in multiple programs offered by: big box retail (93%), independent retailers (43%), specialty distributors/wholesalers (41%) or manufacturers (29%).
- 90% of all respondents purchase from specialty distributors/wholesalers though only 22% of dollars occur in that merchant class. Eighty-eight percent purchase from independent hardware, home improvement, and landscape retailers with only an 18% share of wallet. While 78% have bought directly from manufacturers, the share of purchases is over 16%.
- When looking at rewards, 78% of participants prefer discounts made on purchases and billing credits vs 18% who would rather accrue points or miles for future redemption. Among those who do not belong to any loyalty program, 26% would prefer points or miles.
- For programs that offer merchandise rewards, the top-rated categories were: tools (60%), electronics/computers (52%), home appliances (30%), and mobile phones (26%).
- Half (50%) of those surveyed said they would share earned rewards with their employees.
“The loyalty landscape among this audience is shifting rapidly,” notes Colin Samson, CEO, Reward Paths. “Our research definitively proves the need for merchants, manufacturers, and distributors to recognize and reward contractors for their purchases, regardless of channel.” Samson continued, “Dealers and distributors need to re-invigorate their loyalty programs and upgrade their technology or risk losing share to big box retail and manufacturers. A well-crafted program can alter customer behavior and drive channel preference.”
The full report is available below and contains many other charts and graphs describing the loyalty landscape for B2B programs involving the contractor industries. Simply fill out the form below and the Executive Summary will open in a new tab. After the report opens in a new tab, download it and then view it in Adobe for the best experience. If you’d like further details by trade audience or demographic group contact Reward Paths directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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