John Lewis might not be in the best of shape, with flat sales and slumping profits, but it continues to feel the love of the British shopper, enjoying the highest rates of customer loyalty across the UK, with sister retailer Waitrose in second.
So says an analysis carried out by consultancy Bionic, the Brand Loyalty Index, based on information from the YouGov BrandIndex, social media and search demand data.
The study scores brands out of 100, based on factors such as brand awareness, impression, reputation and social media engagement. Perhaps surprisingly, Brewdog, the Scottish firm which hit the buffers in 2021 amid staff bullying claims comes third, followed by more consistent performers Tesco, Argos, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Debenhams (now online only and part of Boohoo), Cadbury, and Costa.
The research highlights that in the post-pandemic period, customers are increasingly looking to interact with brands that ‘get them’, and the detailed personalisation offered by loyalty schemes such as My John Lewis and MyWaitrose appears to have played a leading role in pushing both brands to the top of this list.
In fact, John Lewis’ loyalty scheme has enjoyed a 26% increase in online searches since 2022, with a range of personalised rewards available for its 5 million members, who shop 2.5 times more frequently than non-members.
Whether the John Lewis Partnership can tap into that loyalty – and its new found love of technology – to turn round the business remains to be seen. However, Bionic chief customer officer Glyn Britton reckons the retailer has a key advantage during the festive shopping period largely because of the popularity of its annual Christmas ad – over to new agency Saatchi & Saatchi.
He added: “All business owners want customers to choose them ahead of what their competitors are offering. But while many big brands can integrate themselves into popular culture, this option probably won’t be available to most small business owners.
“Price and convenience can obviously keep customers coming back, but one advantage a smaller businesses might have over bigger brands is the personality of its people, both on the shop floor and behind the scenes.
“We’re all programmed to be loyal to other people ahead of faceless operation, so if you can build meaningful relationships with your customers and they like you on a personal level, you may already have an edge over the competition.”
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