The loyal behaviour of online consumers is heavily dependent upon price, with low prices being cited by internet shoppers as being the most important factor in their loyalty to an online supplier, according to the results of the 'Consumer Loyalty Survey' from DoubleClick Performics and E-tailing Group.
The study aimed to discover what factors play key roles in a consumer's loyalty to any particular merchant online or across other available channels, and the extent of their participation in frequent buyer and customer loyalty programmes.
Always looking for a deal
The study also asked which features are most important to online shoppers, and what factors deter shoppers from becoming loyal to an online merchant or web site.
According to Stuart Frankel, president for DoubleClick Performics, "Our research shows that consumers often seek the best value. Seven out of ten consumers said they shop around with multiple web sites to find the one offering the best deal before making an online purchase."
Among the key findings of the study:
- 71% of shoppers said they browse multiple online stores before completing a purchase;
- 42% said they compare the product's price at many sites using a shopping comparison engine (such as Froogle.com);
- 48% described their loyalty to merchants across channels (including stores, the web, and catalogues) as "somewhat loyal to certain merchants based on a combination of good value, superior service and the right mix of product";
- 70% said they belong to a frequent buyer or loyalty programme;
- 53% ranked "discounts or exclusive offers for members" as the most important feature of frequent buyer and loyalty programmes;
- When deciding to go back to a web site, an online order tracking facility was rated as very important by 56%;
- Shopping patterns vary by gender, with men being generally less loyal and women being more likely to register or to be influenced by promotional mail;
- Poor service was the most important factor that deters shoppers from becoming loyal to a web site (cited by 41% of respondents);
- Consumers belonging to two or more rewards programmes were less likely to be focused on price, and they tend to use more online features and tools to enhance their multichannel shopping experience;
- Over 50% reported purchasing clothing, books, music, computer ware, and toys online;
- Free shipping continues to be the most important enticement that brings customers back to a merchant's web site.