MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

The top drivers of consumer loyalty are…

BY Marianne Wilson

When it comes to being loyal to a retailer or brand, the majority of U.S. consumers are swayed by their pocketbooks.

Nine out of 10 (92%) loyal customers rank price and value as the top factor in driving loyalty to specific retailers, followed by product/quality (79%) and variety/selection (71%), according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ survey on brand loyalty.

The importance of the retail experience also continues to be significant, as 62% consumers are willing to spend more if their shopping experience is customized to their personal interests. However, a negative experience comes at a price. Eighty-two percent consumers say that they will buy elsewhere if they experience poor customer service or rude employees.

“Retail is a highly competitive industry and the well-informed consumer has more influence on retailers and brands than ever before,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “A physical retail space is vital for brands and retailers to have a competitive advantage and connect with consumers. Consumers want the best experience and the best value, in turn rewarding brands and retailers with their loyalty.”

In other findings:

• Consumers of all generations are most loyal to food and beverage retailers, with 95% of GenXers, 94% of Baby Boomers and 90% of Millennials selecting these based upon product brand.

• Asked which type of brand they prefer, 90% of consumers say they prefer national brands to store or local brands. Seventy nine percent of consumers are loyal to national brands when it comes to electronic devices, followed by apparel and footwear (65%) and health and beauty products (59%).

• Millennials are less affected by negative customer experiences with 74% saying they would switch to buying from a different retailer if they received poor customer service. This compares to 86% of GenXers and 85% of Baby Boomers who would switch immediately if customer service is poor.

• Millennials show the greatest brand loyalty with 58% stating that they will buy the same brand of products no matter what. The greater the variety of brands a store offers, the more likely millennials are to frequent the store, with 80% of them citing variety as a driving force in visiting a store.

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REAL ESTATE

Lake Nona invests in tech for connected retail experience

BY Al Urbanski

Tavisock Development is partnering with a Google company on technology it says will “reimagine” the retail and entertainment experience at its Lake Nona Town Center in Orlando.

Intersection Consulting & Solutions, a unit of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, will work with Tavistock on nine-month project to use digital technology to bring “smart city” solutions to retail issues like parking and wayfinding. The company, which created New York’s Wi-Fi-driven LinkNYC network, promises also to create a connected retail experience that is responsive to individual consumer preferences.

“By creating a data-driven, connected, and responsive ecosystem, Lake Nona will pioneer a technology-forward town center that will serve as a model for the rapidly changing retail market nationwide,” said Alphabet president Jim Butler.

The first phase of the 100-acre Lake Nona Town Center opened in January 2016 with an 85,000-sq.-ft. office building, two Marriott hotels), and 16,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space. At full buildout it will include house more than 80 retail, dining, and entertainment tenants, along with 85,000 sq. ft. of medically integrated fitness facilities.


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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Saks Fifth Avenue to roll out new salon concept — with augmented reality

BY Marianne Wilson

Saks Fifth Avenue is debuting a new salon concept with a futuristic edge.

The luxury department store retailer is partnering with Joel Warren, co-founder of the Warren-Tricomi hair salon chain, on the Salon Project, which will offer hair care, skin care and beauty services along with a medical spa and retail. The concept will launch this fall at Saks' store in Huntington, New York, with additional locations at Saks' stores in Houston and Boca Raton, Fla., opening by 2018. The concept will open in Saks' New York City flagship in fall 2019. In all, the concept will be rolled out in in 10 U.S. Saks stores during the next two years.

Designed by New York City-based design and build firm RPG, the salons will range in size between 3,000 sq. ft. to 5,000 sq. ft., with an environment described as "20th-century retro meets modern classical glamour." The space, which includes many contemporary twists, will not have the typical salon front desk to check in clients. Instead, customers will check in with concierges equipped with iPads which will direct them to their designated station.

The stations are designed with sink, services and retail together so that the customer can remain there for the duration of their services. At their seats, clients can use augmented reality technology to try on products available in the salon's inventory and test lipsticks from a try-on bar cart, all while receiving recommendations from their hairdresser who can complete product purchase transactions from an iPad.

"This is the salon of the future by combining stores like Apple, Sephora and a high-end salon and spa," said Warren. "As soon as guests walk in, they will literally enter a virtual reality. Screens will be set up right at the entrance, which will allow clients the ability to virtually try on lipsticks and other cosmetics, then purchase products or add on services on the spot."

Warren, who left Warren-Tricomi in 2016, is creating his own makeup line and hopes the salon will be a “brand incubator” and showcase for curated, independent retail lines, reported the New York Post.

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