Retail lacks personal relationship

Retail shopping loyalty in Canada may not be extinct, but it is at least in the endangered species category, says a u.s.-based expert.Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America's Research Group, lays the blame on the doorstep of an impersonal purchase...

Retail shopping loyalty in Canada may not be extinct, but it is at least in the endangered species category, says a u.s.-based expert.

Britt Beemer, chairman and founder of America’s Research Group, lays the blame on the doorstep of an impersonal purchase experience.

Beemer, in Toronto recently to announce his company’s move into Canada, says the personal relationship between sales staff and customer is on the brink of disappearing in the Canadian retail sector.

‘The high turnover in retail sales personnel has taken its toll on customer loyalty,’ Beemer says.

‘Shoppers know that in many cases the salesperson they deal with today won’t be there the next time they shop [at] the store,’ she says.

At the recent press conference, Beemer released a survey that found only 43% of Canadians described themselves as loyal, very loyal or completely loyal to the stores where they shop.

Among this group, says the national survey of 500 Canadians, 83.5% said the fact that they had been shopping at a store for years was ‘most definitely’ the main reason for their loyalty.

Knowing a store will take a product back, with 79.3% of respondents, and a convenient location with 78.4% of respondents, also figured highly among this group.

Knowing the people who work in the store, at 54.1% of respondents, was the least favored reason for loyalty.

Beemer says the fact so few people cite knowing sales staff as the reason for their loyalty indicates there are too many new faces behind sales counters.

He says for traditional retailers these numbers become more important when weighed against the survey’s findings that Canadians are flocking to giant superstores and liking what they find there.

The survey was conducted Sept. 3-6, and has a margin of error plus or minus of 4.3%.

The headquarters of America’s Research Group is in Charleston, s.c. Its Canadian clients include The Brick furniture stores and Sealy Canada.