R/GA survey uncovers serious Singapore slide in brand loyalty

04 May 2021 Consultancy.asia 3 min. read
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Rather than being sold to, Singaporean consumers want to get the most from the products they purchase according to a new survey from R/GA, with significant implications for brands.

A new global research study from digital innovation consultancy R/GA has uncovered a growing ‘brand loyalty crisis’ among consumers in Singapore, with more than three quarters of local respondents indicating they were unsure if they would make the same purchases as previously made across six common categories; e-commerce, personal care and beauty, consumer technology, electronics, credit cards, quick service restaurants, and health and fitness.

To compile its ‘Power of Brand Relationship Design’ report, R/GA altogether canvassed 16,000 consumers in nine markets across the US, Europe, South America and Asia Pacific, with the rate of ambivalence or ‘buyer’s remorse’ for purchases made in the designated categories by Singaporeans coming out at a massive 77 percent, as compared the global average of 60 percent. Only Japanese consumers were more widely unsatisfied, marginally higher at 80 percent.

R/GA survey uncovers serious Singapore slide in brand loyalty

In examining this growing lack of loyalty, the authors note the seemingly contrary improvement to the general standard of customer experience, with the digital revolution having created a homogenised online landscape. This “flattening” of the internet has removed the “texture” from customer experience and stripped consumer-brand relationships of character. Meanwhile, brands spend untold millions on establishing market differentiation right up to the point of purchase.

Notably, two thirds of respondents from Singapore don’t just appreciate but now expect a seamless brand experience, and when something is expected, R/GA reminds us, it’s no longer a competitive advantage. Here, the consultancy contends that having a strong post-purchase experience strategy is crucial for brands to stand out and compete in a contemporary digital era marked by shifting modes of consumption – especially after having invested significant sums into acquistion.

“We see an enormous opportunity for post-purchase innovation,” says Brady Ambler, Executive Strategy Director at R/GA Singapore. “It’s well known that retaining an existing customer is cheaper than attracting a new one and incremental improvements in retention can lead to an outsized impact on profitability. However, what this new data shows us is the traditional loyalty playbook is fundamentally broken and businesses are missing out on an obvious growth driver.”

When quizzed on what they felt they most needed immediately following a purchase, those surveyed in Singapore signalled ‘getting the most out of my purchase’ and ‘just answer my questions’ as their foremost requirements at frequencies of above 40 percent, while ‘product curation’, or the cross-selling and up-selling described as brands’ commonly preferred tactic in the first moments of a customer relationship, was cited by less than a third of respondents.

The pain points

But this is not backed by experience. Those surveyed stated that they haven’t been completely satisfied immediately post-purchase in almost half of all instances, due to two particular pain-points identified; initial let-down around the first use of a product, and then when seeking support to address those issues. R/GA makes the point that if a new product or service fails to address their problems or needs, frustrated consumers are then left with two problems to resolve.

“With the rise of a more informed and digitally savvy population, there is a clear disconnect between what they want and what they’re getting. From our study, it’s clear that business-as-usual will not work,” concluded R/GA Singapore Managing Director Dorothy Peng.

“Business processes need to be re-evaluated against these changing dynamics, and regaining the trust of customers is now a priority. This will be the stepping stone to creating a more human future of loyalty.”