How to Turn Customers Into Advocates With Loyalty Marketing

The accelerated shift to online shopping driven by the pandemic presents e-commerce websites, retailers and brands with an opportunity to build end-to-end loyalty marketing programs that better retain current customers and increase the value of existing ones. Understanding the new building blocks of loyalty will help companies best position themselves to establish relationships with their customers and build profitable connections in the long run.

GroupM and Meta have released a new report — How to Build Profitable Customer Relationships Using Loyalty Marketing — that offers new insights into how online shopping platforms and brands can reimagine their approach to digital loyalty and turn customers into advocates. It also includes practical applications advertisers can use to retain and create high-value, loyal customers.

The report, commissioned by Meta and conducted by research firm Harris X, surveyed 1,204 adult (18+) online shoppers in the U.S. between March to May 2021 to understand the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and what drove repeat business to online shopping platforms. The results highlight that loyal online shoppers will continue purchasing from their go-to shopping platform and will refer their friends and family to those same platforms.

  • 60% of U.S. shoppers say they are more or equally motivated by personal connections with brands as by financial incentives when choosing where to shop online.
  • People who consider themselves loyal are 1.5 times more likely than other online shoppers to talk about their go-to online shopping destination with their friends and family.
  • 84% of surveyed U.S. shoppers who use the channel prefer receiving regular communications from social media versus email.

Today’s most loyal online shoppers are not only repeat customers, but also advocates for their go-to shopping platform. That advocacy is built on reciprocity and connection — consumers want to feel like they are valued by the brand as much as they value the brand.

“Apps once used to find inspiration have proliferated and become impulse buying engines, collapsing the marketing funnel from inspiration to conversion to advocacy in one single visit,” says Lauren Lavin, North America Commerce Practice Lead, GroupM. “A well-executed experience — from creative to last-mile delivery — presents a unique opportunity for brands to earn a massive ‘pay it forward’ loyalty halo online, at the speed of ecommerce.”

The report looks beyond the functional decisions that drive repeat purchases and unpacks factors that are at the heart of consumers becoming advocates — including seamless shopping experiences, convenience, easy discovery, consistent availability, positive community endorsement and personal connections.

To read the full report, click here.