In a time of exploding costs for new customer acquisition, loyalty is a retailer’s most valuable currency. Data shows that acquiring a new customer loses brands a whopping $29 per shopper, compared to just $9 a decade ago. But instead of throwing money into marketing and advertising, businesses can reach long-term sustainability by focusing on building customer loyalty and strengthening relationships to prevent brand switching.
Here are some ways retailers can eliminate the most common brand switching behaviors and even boost retention efforts.
What Is Brand Switching?
Brand switching is when customers pivot from buying one company’s products to a competing brand. In essence, it’s the inverse of brand loyalty.
The epidemic of brand switching is far too common in retail, with data showing that 71% of consumers worldwide switched one of their brands in the past year. Ecommerce retailers need to do everything in their power to keep their customers out of that group and prove to them that they’re worth their hard-earned money.
Customer Experience Resources to Build Long-Term Brand Loyalty
4 Common Causes of Brand Switching
These brand switching causes demonstrate just how important it is for ecommerce retailers to invest in their support centers.
1. Rising costs
Inflation is affecting all aspects of consumer spending. For ecommerce retailers, inflation is compounded by supply chain issues impacting fulfillment, forcing brands to gradually charge higher prices to maintain their businesses.
Your own brand is likely wondering whether it can find a workable pricing strategy that keeps profits steady without alienating customers. But what’s actually more effective is to highlight what makes your brand unique for shoppers, convincing them to choose you over a competitor. For example, if your products are higher priced but sustainable, you can lean into beliefs you share with younger shoppers who are known for value-based spending, leveraging the fact that 86% of millennials and 81% of Gen Z say they are willing to spend more on sustainable products
The Gladly solution: Look outside the box for ways to maintain brand affinity with customers. More specifically, you can speak to your product and brand strengths on the channels where customers naturally develop communities around their favorite brands, using Gladly social communications to meet shoppers on the mediums where the conversations are happening. In doing so, you’ll develop brand affinity that naturally fosters stronger relationships and communities for your entire customer network.
2. Poor product explanation
People buy products to solve their problems. When a customer intends to make a purchase, they want to know everything they can about the item they’re buying to ensure it will meet their needs — the reason why 54% of online consumers read reviews before every purchase they make.
The lesson is that if you fail to accurately explain the value of your products, shoppers won’t hesitate to switch to those that are more articulate about their quality.
The Gladly solution: Ideally your product details are informative enough to indicate the quality and use of your items, but your staff should have adequate product expertise to be able to speak to your catalog even further. To help elevate your support team to product experts, use a centralized knowledge base so agents can update info across all your channels simultaneously.
3. Limited shopping and support channels
Today, customers look to shop on a wide variety of channels, requiring brands to keep up with their diverse sources. Shoppers are purchasing in-store, online, and most notably on social media, where purchasing is expected to go beyond $1.2 trillion by 2025.
If a customer can’t access your experience on the channel of their choosing, they’ll likely look elsewhere to make a purchase. Retailers must have an omnichannel presence to elevate the shopping experience itself as well as provide support.
The Gladly solution: Wherever your customers come from, make sure your support center is available to them. By opting for our omnichannel platform, you gain access to channels like IVR, chat, and SMS. To go further, Gladly consolidates the entirety of a customer’s communications with you into a single-view conversation, regardless of where each message came from. This allows consistency in the relationship to discourage brand switching.
Meet your customers on-the-go with Gladly's SMS text support
4. Unfriendly customer service
One of the key offenders of brand switching is poor customer service, which negatively affects how shoppers feel about businesses. Our Customer Expectations Report shows 42% of customers would leave a brand altogether after just two negative experiences.
The Gladly solution: Every brand should train agents on how to deal with customers respectfully and positively during each interaction. However, if agents aren’t able to access important and historical customer information quickly, things can go off the rails fast. Gladly allows your agents to understand your customers better, helping them be more empathetic to customer needs and find solutions faster. With accessible customer details that store and display information on a shopper’s history, agents can easily create strong, positive connections with shoppers and dispel any unfriendliness.
Warby Parker not only squashed unfriendly service, they went a step further. Because getting prescription glasses can be a complex process with a lot of technical factors, agents need to be properly equipped to guide shoppers through the process. Using our technology to apply personal touches and next-level product expertise, the glasses retailer now provides patient, direct communication with customers to get them to an optimal optical solution.
A Brand That Feels Like a Friend Earns 600% YoY Growth
🛑 Despite selling a product that comes with an emotionally taxing shopping process — swimwear — Andie Swim has kept exceptional customer service at the core of their business, to great effect. To date, they’ve seen 600% YoY growth, while building a robust customer feedback loop. Hear their story in the Andie Swim x Glady podcast episode.
How Gladly Prevents Brand Switching
One brand that applied Gladly to prevent brand switching is Chubbies. The men’s apparel retailer used Gladly to strengthen its everyday relationships with customers, using more personalization in conversation as well as their shoppers’ favorite channels. In particular, Gladly helped them expand into chat support, which has rapidly grown to encompass a third of Chubbies’ entire contact volume. By also highlighting customer stories and rewarding fans who engage with them with discounts and freebies, Chubbies has flourished with a customer community of diehard shoppers who wouldn’t even consider brand switching.
While tackling brand switching can be tricky due to the rapid growth of the ecommerce landscape, retailers can get at the root causes of attrition by reinforcing quality customer experience through their support centers. Try a demo to see how you can eliminate brand switching with a support platform that provides high-quality service to encourage customer retention.