Building Shopper Loyalty in the Age of COVID

New study from Anyline Inc. looks at strategies for customer retention
Photograph: Shutterstock

A new shopper survey from Anyline Inc. finds that as consumers continue to shift to online shopping and visit brick-and-mortar stores less frequently, building and sustaining shopper loyalty is increasingly important.

Its 2021 Anyline Consumer Shopping Survey looks at the shopping habits and the quality of shopping experiences of 500 U.S. citizens through COVID-19 in order to provide retailers informed strategies for building trust.

Three key takeaways from the report include:

1. Shopping Habits and Fulfillment Trends Are Expected to Continue

The survey by Vienna, Austria-based Anyline, found that 65% of shoppers have changed their retail habits in the past six months. “For many, these shifts will be permanent, with 65% of respondents intending to continue their current shopping habits even when the pandemic risks end,” says the company. One such shift in habits is that shoppers are looking for new fulfillment options, with 39% now using curbside pickup and 33% now using home delivery.

2. Price and Expiration Date Errors Put Trust at Risk

With shoppers now making fewer store visits, but spending more per trip, the stakes are higher for retailers to make every visit count, says Anyline. Yet more than half of survey respondents (53%) reported frequent and sometimes serious product issues while shopping, including noticing a difference between the displayed price of an item and what they are charged at the register. What’s more, 36% reported sometimes or frequently finding items on the shelf that were past their expiration date.

3. Shoppers Find Contactless Tools Essential

Consumers still prefer in-store shopping, says Anyline, but consider contactless tools essential. A whopping 81% of consumers said they prefer to use their own device for in-store shopping. In addition, 85% of shoppers have at least one retail app, which Anyline says takes this retailer function from “nice to have” to “must have.”

And a mobile shopping app alone is not enough, continues Anyline. It finds that there are several obvious features a mobile shopping app must offer like self-scanning, discounts, loyalty perks, and contact-free checkout. “The key to the success of these features is how well the scanning functionality works,” says the company, which adds that the age of the retailer-furnished shopping scanner is over. “If customers have trouble scanning items, they will not use the app.”

“We find that retail brand loyalty remains high among shoppers, but wrong prices and expiration dates can erode confidence,” said Christoph Braunsberger, president, Anyline Inc., in a statement. “With consumers expected to continue current shopping habits, it is essential for retailers to provide them the tools they desire to ensure trust. Bring your own device (BYOD) can play an important role here. Employee-facing apps for price verification and inventory management can enable retail workforces to address these issues quickly with their own mobile devices.”

Through the use of artificial intelligence and mobile data capture, Anyline enables any mobile device to process written characters and barcodes in real time, even when offline.


Get today’s need-to-know grocery industry intelligence. Sign up to receive texts from Winsight Grocery Business.


More from our partners