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Jim Green's blog

Loyalty

March 7, 2013

When I was a kid, I remember my father only drove Buicks, my mother only shopped at the A&P, and we only ate Sunbeam bread. For furniture, my parents only went to Lester Brothers, a locally owned, hometown furniture store. I think in today's retail environment, consumers still have their loyalties to some products and retailers. My last four vehicles have been Honda products. We only shop at Publix and eat Merita bread. Today, however there seems to be little store loyalty in the furniture industry. At least at the promotional end of furniture retailing, it seems to be all about price. Consumers tend to shop till they drop to find what they like at the very lowest price.

Other industries face the same dilemmas; how to keep their customers coming back. It is common in many industries for companies to initiate measures to promote loyalty. Nothing new. Every airline has their frequent flyer program. Revolving credit card companies each have their own loyalty incentive programs; frequent flyer points, cash back, and points for purchasing products. Bookstores have their loyalty programs as do many drugstore chains. Companies like Sears, Best Buy, Ace Hardware, and Chico's all have their own loyalty promoting programs.

It is surprising to me that more retail companies in the furniture industry have not latched on to the concept. I am sure that some retailers have marketed some sort of approach to capture the loyalty of their customers but it is extraordinary to me that it is not a staple of the industry much as free interest has become a basic of the retail furniture business. A loyalty program of this sort would have many marketing applications such as private sale events, consumer merchandising input, ‘send your friend in for a reward' marketing, and the like. There is a psychological element at play because people tend to like receiving something to which not everyone is privy. This might be pinpoint marketing at its best at very little marketing cost.