How Children Affect Retail Consumer Loyalty

Our 2018 Retail Customer Loyalty Study reveals important insights on the shopping personalities of consumers who do — and don’t — have children living at home.

You might suspect that parents with children at home would find it easier to streamline their shopping experience by staying loyal to a select few retailers. If so, you’ll be surprised by findings from customer.com’s new Retail Customer Loyalty Study.

Let’s recap.

Our 2018 Retail Customer Loyalty Study identified 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 (30%) 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 (35%) 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 without 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 with children living at home are more likely to be Roamers, perhaps because they find it more important to shop around for the best deals or because they are pleasing their children’s ever-changing preferences.
  • Households without children tend to be Loyalists, perhaps because they don’t have to budget for as many family members or because they primarily have only themselves to please when shopping.

Top 10: Children influence which factors are best at driving loyalty.

Our Retail Customer 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:

  • Shopping With the Retailer Is a Status Symbol
  • Easy Returns
  • Ability to Look-Up Past Purchases
  • Fair Treatment

Compared to families without children at home, they were twice as likely to list Feel the Retailer Is Socially Responsible as important to loyalty.

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

  • Trust
  • VIP Benefits

Interestingly, when we asked consumers to rank their top loyalty factors, the same two factors topped the list regardless of whether or not there were children in the home: Good Value (#1) and Easy Purchases (#2). Yet, the groups split at #3: Families with kids at home ranked Lowest Price third, while families without kids at home ranked Convenient Shopping Experience as their third choice.

Both groups ranked some other factors — such as Good Value for the Money, Lowest Price and Quality of Products — the same.

Top Factors Driving Consumer Loyalty

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 with kids at home were much more likely to indicate that Incentives to Shop, Status Symbol and Ability to Look Up Past Purchases would lead them to select one retailer over another.
  • Households without children at home were more likely to list Fair Treatment, Customer Service, Trust and Caring Staff as the factors they would consider in selecting between two nearly identical retailers.

Loyalty to Specific Retailers

Respondents were also asked to list the retailer they were most likely to exclusively shop for particular needs. Walmart, Amazon, Target and Kohl’s 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 with kids, while consumer electronics retailer Best Buy was listed in the top 10 for households without children.

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 Roamers — customers who always or almost always shop around before making a purchase. 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 an easier time attracting this segment, since these individuals are more likely to be Loyalists. That is, if the retailers deliver a solid value proposition and attend to those factors that most likely 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 2018 Retail Customer 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 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.