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E-commerce makes consumers more loyal, study finds

26 October 2011 - 09:40 by Graham Miller

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People who buy goods via safe shopping online are more likely to remain loyal to their most regularly accessed retailer, than those who make their purchases on the high street, according to a report commissioned by Unilever.

Brand loyalty is 15 per cent higher amongst web shoppers and the study suggests that a typical online shopping basket is almost £2 more expensive than the high street equivalent.

However, Unilever's Andy Houghton was quick to point out at a conference last week that this is not because items are dearer online but, instead, because people are just happier to spend more of their cash when using e-commerce sites.

Mr Houghton said that e-commerce outlets were able to be far more flexible and creative in their marketing strategies than those lumbered with promoting bricks and mortar stores.

Inter-brand partnerships are one major way in which retailers and companies can take advantage of safe shopping online, in ways not possible on the high street, according to Mr Houghton.

Unilever is responsible for a number of major brands and in the future it is hoping to work harder to join forces with major retailers like Tesco, to engage with consumers and, as you might imagine, encourage shoppers to commit its products to their digital shopping baskets with increased regularity.

It is interesting to see a survey find that online shoppers are more loyal, particularly given that there is such an emphasis on price comparison and money saving at the moment. This means that pure play e-commerce retailers like Amazon are able to retain their customers and convert their clicks into cash, while high street stores might see a larger proportion trickle elsewhere, if the price is not right.

Multichannel retailing and cross-brand cooperation seems central to the strategies being rolled out by a number of companies.