Is Brand Loyalty a Thing of the Past?

Brick-and-mortar stores once had brand loyalty beyond compare. Consumers cherished their favorite stores and looked forward to strolling the aisles during weekly shopping trips. Families were devoted to a single store and either shopped at Publix, Walmart, Albertsons or another grocer close to home. With Amazon Prime now delivering perishables and other food items, and delivery services like Shipt allowing consumers to order groceries from different stores to have them delivered to their homes for a small fee, brick-and-mortar grocers are starting to see an impact on brand loyalty. Almost 40% of consumers stated that they would not mind if their favorite grocer closed, they would just go shop somewhere else.

With all of these new technologies available to order groceries and other items directly online, how are brick-and-mortar stores going to compete with a conglomerate like Amazon? One thing that keeps people coming back to their favorite grocer is customer service. Publix and Wegmans, for example, are known for their outstanding customer service. Greeting customers as they enter and exit the store, offering to help load bags into customers cars and hosting food sampling events with easy to prepare meals are just a few of the ways that these companies go out of their way to treat their customers like family. Publix will also order anything that they do not carry at one particular store if you just ask.

Another way brands can maintain a dedicated customer base is by having loyalty or reward programs. Loyalty cards allow customers who sign up for their program to get coupons through their email and get direct discounts in store. A good example of this is CVS. For years, their ExtraCare card gives direct discounts in stores and offers ExtraBucks or cash off their next purchase. Stores like Walmart also offer a Savings Catcher on their phone app. By scanning your receipt into the app, Walmart will check their competitor’s prices and give you the difference directly online on a Walmart gift card if they find a better deal.

Getting customers to the store, keeping them inside long enough to make purchases and creating good relationships will build the emotional connections brick-and-mortars need to rebuild brand loyalty. Utilizing the loyalty and rewards programs offered will allow brands to have a fighting chance to stay in business as the Amazon Prime and online delivery craze continues to sweep the nation. While there is no easy way to bring customers into these supermarkets, companies can still thrive by maintaining solid relationships with their customers by continuing to provide deals and services only available in stores.