Does E-Loyalty Exist in Retail?

The emergence of money saving websites in the past 5 years has allowed consumers to be extremely flexible in their approach to purchasing online. Before the internet, customer loyalty would be based upon in-store customer experience and customer service. This is still the case to some extent, however the past couple of years have taught us that online sales have grown dramatically, in particular over the Christmas shopping period.

Taking that into account, do we have a loyalty towards a particular website as we do on the high street? The challenge for online commerce outlets is keeping customers for repeat custom. This is where we have an advantage as a consumer, there are so many resources out there available to find the best deal, many people will shop around and purchase from a website that is not particularly well known providing the site seems legible and the price is right. If you don’t have an established brand with a big following, retailers with consumer goods such as electrical equipment or furniture can profit from low prices more online that they could possibly do with a store.

Many of the tools we have at our disposal these days provide retailers with not much option that to reduce their prices as much as possible. Money saving tips, cash-back websites, voucher codes and comparison sites offer us with all the information we need to make an informed decision about saving the pennies.

Online loyalty works particularly well with internet gaming companies and bingo providers where players can earn points for every pound spent in an online casino or bingo game, then eventually redeeming points for cash in their account. Other successful loyalty programs include refer a friend schemes; one company who has fared particularly well with this type of loyalty scheme is Sky TV who offer Marks & Spencer gift vouchers for both parties when a new customer is referred to them. This type of scheme works well as gift vouchers have a broad audience and are suitable for almost every person.

In a world where you should be rewarded for loyalty, the fickle world of online sales would suggest otherwise, even online insurance companies who have built a reputation of customer loyalty on the back of ‘no claims bonuses’ seem to have fallen by the wayside due to comparison sites.

In the world of the credit crunch, it’s no surprise that online sales have taken off and customers are finding the best deals, however, others would argue that there’s simply nothing like hitting the high street and shopping for a bargain.