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How Children Affect Retail Consumer Loyalty

Our 2021 Retail Customer Brand Loyalty Study reveals important insights on the shopping personalities of consumers who do — and don’t — have children living at home.

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Article Highlights

  • Individual customer loyalty changes based on age, life stage and presence of children at home.
  • Households with children are more likely to be loyal to specific retailers and place importance on factors such as VIP treatment and customer service.
  • Households without children tend to shop around and place more importance on the assortment of products and incentives to shop.
  • Getting a good value for their money is a top loyalty factor for all households.
  • Building customer loyalty goes beyond a loyalty program and requires support for all areas of an organization.

You might suspect that parents with children at home would prefer to shop around and find the best bargains to fit already stretched budgets. If so, you’ll be surprised by findings from customer.com’s 2021 Retail Customer Brand Loyalty Study.

Let’s recap.

Our Retail Customer Brand Loyalty Study identifies three primary shopping personalities, with consumers falling into each category in roughly equal amounts:

  • Loyalists (35%) are consumers who find a go-to retailer for their needs and stick with them.
  • Neutrals (28%) are consumers who have some go-to retailers for particular purchases but also have times and types of purchases where they prefer to shop around.
  • Roamers (36%) are consumers who always shop around before making purchases.

You may notice that the findings of our study contradict conventional wisdom, which says “consumer loyalty is dead and everyone shops around all the time.” In fact, one-third of consumers still remain loyal to their favorite retailers.

Surprise! Households with children are more loyal.

An individual consumer’s loyalty does, however, change and evolve over the course of their lifetime. These changes are influenced at least in part by the circumstances and characteristics of particular ages and life stages, such as embarking on further schooling or a career after high school graduation, settling into retirement — or having children at home.

In fact, the presence of children in a household is one of the main demographic characteristics influencing a customer’s shopping personality.

  • Households without children living at home are more likely to be Roamers, perhaps because they find it more important, and have more time, to shop around for the best deals.
  • Households with children tend to be Loyalists. Perhaps because they have less time, they tend to find retailers that suit them for particular needs and stick with them.

Children influence which factors are best at driving loyalty.

Our Retail Customer Brand Loyalty Study asked respondents to identify factors that made them more loyal to a particular retailer. Those factors differed between homes with and without children.

Families with children at home were more likely to list the following as important loyalty drivers:

  • VIP treatment
  • Feel retailer is socially responsible
  • Status symbol
  • Customer service

Households without children living at home were more likely to list the following as important loyalty drivers:

  • Ability to look up past transactions in my online profile via an app
  • Receive incentives to shop with that retailer
  • Assortment of products offered

However, when we asked consumers to rank their overall top loyalty factors, the same factor was most often ranked number one regardless of whether or not there were children in the home: Good value for the money. While both groups cited the same factors in their top five, households without children ranked convenient shopping experience slightly higher at #3, while households with children ranked it #5.

Top Factors Driving Consumer Loyalty

Interestingly, both families with children and those without cited lowest price less frequently than one might expect as being an important factor in determining their loyalty. It placed sixth for families with children and seventh for those without.

We also asked consumers, when products, prices and access were equal between retailers, which other factors would encourage them to select one retailer over another. The answers again differed based on whether or not there were children living at home.

  • Households without children at home were more likely to list receive incentives to shop with that retailer, easy to make returns and caring staff as the factors they would consider in selecting between two nearly identical retailers.
  • Households with kids at home were much more likely to indicate that trust, positive shopping experience and VIP benefits and experiences would lead them to select one retailer over another.

Children have some impact on loyalty to specific retailers.

Respondents were also asked to list the retailer they were most likely to exclusively shop for particular needs. Walmart, Amazon and Target topped the list (in that order) for both households with and without children. Discount supermarket chain ALDI made it to the top 10 list of households without kids, while consumer electronics retailer Best Buy was listed in the top 10 for households with children.

Top Retailers for Consumer Loyalty

Further Reading: See how Walmart and Amazon win at loyalty — and find tactics you can steal.

The presence or absence of children has implications for retailers.

The factors that build customer loyalty and drive engagement among households with and without children are varied. Since many retailers find families with children comprise a large segment of their best customer group, the competition for this target audience is especially fierce.

And, as the customer.com study shows, this group is more likely to be Loyalists — customers who like to select a retailer for particular needs and stick with them. It’s especially important, therefore, for retailers targeting this group to understand the factors that drive engagement and loyalty, and to deploy intentional strategies to deliver upon them.

Retailers whose primary customers consist of consumers in households without children at home may have a more difficult time attracting this segment, since these individuals are more likely to be Roamers. However, these retailers can turn the odds in their favor if they deliver a solid value proposition and attend to those factors most likely to drive loyalty and engagement for this group.

In all cases, loyalty factors go beyond simply offering a loyalty program and ultimately require support from all areas of the enterprise if authentic customer loyalty is to be achieved.

For more details on factors driving customer loyalty, get a free download of the first release from customer.com’s 2021 Retail Customer Brand Loyalty Study.

Digging into data to discover what drives loyalty for your particular customers — and then turning that information into an ROI-focused action plan — is what CCG’s retail marketing consultants do best. Learn more about our retail marketing solutions. Then click the button below or call us at 303.986.3000 to schedule a free meeting with one of our experts to see how we can help you move the needle on your loyalty and customer relationship initiatives.

Sandra Gudat

Author Sandra Gudat

Sandra Gudat is CCG’s president & CEO. Considered a pioneer in the field of customer marketing, she has a diverse background in consulting, database marketing, advertising, retail and business management. She is a frequent speaker on customer loyalty marketing and developing customer-centric policies

More posts by Sandra Gudat

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