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Brand matters. That’s what almost two-thirds of consumers (63%) told us when we asked what influences holiday shopping decisions. Ultimately, shoppers define a brand by the overall experience it provides.
Bound up in that experience are a variety of factors — from speed, convenience and price to quality, reliability and consistency. Give your customers that overall experience they’re looking for and they will keep coming back.
A loyalty program they value, for example: 58% of travelers will redeem rewards to book travel this holiday season. What do they value most in a loyalty program? Flexibility in redeeming rewards.
Recognizing the importance of customer loyalty, more than 60% of executives increased their loyalty budgets during their most recent planning cycle, according to PwC’s 2023 Customer Loyalty Executive Survey.
Taking their cue from consumers who signal a willingness to adopt generative AI (GenAI), consumer-facing companies are embedding AI and GenAI into their business models. Hospitality companies are boosting tech investment to enhance guest experience.
Executives are all too aware of the importance of customer experience. When it comes to earning loyalty, however, executives and consumers don’t always agree: Twice as many executives as consumers believe that good customer service is the key to winning loyalty.
Consumers, by contrast, say loyalty is won early — before they ever reach out to customer service. Almost half (46%) say the quality of the product or service drives their loyalty, while a scant 23% of executives do.
The disconnect? Loyal customers are satisfied customers who have little reason to contact customer service in the first place. The central lesson here? Be proactive with loyalty. By satisfying customers throughout the various touchpoints of their experience with your brand, you can unlock growth.
Why it matters: Think of loyalty as a growth engine that drives your most valuable customer relationships from the top of the funnel through to repurchase. Rewards members spend more. They return more often. And they serve as powerful advocates, spreading the word to their friends and families.
Various consumer groups illustrate nuanced versions of loyalty, according to PwC’s 2023 Holiday Outlook:
Emtechies are another loyal consumer group. They consist primarily of young male high-earning consumers in metro areas who embrace emerging tech — such as GenAI and extended reality — to augment their shopping and travel experience:
Why it matters: Given their income level — more than half earn over $65,000 — and extremely online presence, emtechies are a group to watch. And nurture. As are Gen Z consumers, who will soon enter their peak earning years.
The metrics are in: Loyal customers not only spend more with a brand, they also spread the gospel of the brand far and wide. These superfans are worth cultivating because — in addition to their own allegiance — they amplify a brand’s reach.
Analytic models can help decipher the reasons for their preferences and behaviors, Armed with that information, you can better personalize interactions and rewards in ways that further encourage loyalty. It’s time to take your loyalty function to the next level by transforming it from a retention tool into a growth engine.
Retail Leader, PwC US
Customer Transformation and Loyalty Partner, PwC US
Marketing Transformation Leader, PwC US