By Barry Smith
Head of UK Revolving Finance
Promiscuity is the new loyalty
Promiscuity is bred by convenience and affordability. Retailers are increasingly trying to put their customers at the heart of everything they do. Promiscuity is the new loyalty and capturing this promiscuous audience is the new retail challenge.
Retailers are seemingly obsessed with delivering the best products or services and introducing more channels for customers to access them. Simple loyalty programmes are appearing thick and fast; retailers see them as a quick win to customer engagement. ‘Like us on social media and we’ll give you a point’. Sounds a bit too simplistic doesn’t it? My opinion is that a lot of these retailers are missing a trick - whilst their ambition is in the right place they are misunderstanding convenience and more importantly are not considering key drivers of convenience & loyalty such as retail finance, it’s seen as old hat.
Retail finance has evolved to deliver convenience right at the heart of the promiscuous customer. For me, it is the new loyalty driver. A customer can be loyal to a payment type, imagine, ‘I’ll go to another website if they don’t take instant credit’ or ‘I don’t want to get my card out every time I need to buy something and punch in the long card number’.
We all want accessibility to ‘stuff’ whether we’re upgrading or buying for the first time, whether it’s for a hobby or adding to the house, some of us may need funding to make something affordable and others may need credit to deliver convenience.
I can probably afford to fund a purchase for a piece of kit for my bike for £100-£200 but it might be more convenient to use an instant credit product that delivers no interest if repaid over a short period, say 3-months.
If you’re going to offer me credit you need to do it on my terms -if I am in store then I want it there and then - if I am on my smartphone on the bus I want it there and then - I also want you to know that it is me whether I’m in store or online.
If I can setup an instant credit line with my favourite retailers, the ease of instant credit combined with the brand loyalty of the retailer will allow me to buy more frequently because of my affinity with the brand but even more so if I have ease of payment.
Customer centric businesses are 60% more profitable according to research by Deloitte & Touche. Many retailers have the challenge of linking online to offline; the customer has just one experience – the brand experience. Customers do not distinguish between channels, they’re simply shopping. Customer data and insight shared across your business can help create a customer centric focus, softening the challenge of various teams with different perspectives and conflicting priorities. As businesses evolve their retail finance offering must also evolve. How they use data and how they drive convenience is key.
Retailers need to challenge ideas about the role and function of retail finance and instant credit, delivering loyalty and convenience right to the heart of their otherwise promiscuous customers.
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