Does COVID-19 provide retailers with new opportunities to bond with customers?
MBLM’s newly-released “Brand Intimacy Study,” which ranks brands based on their emotional connections, found the retail industry moving from fourth to third out of 10 industries as the pandemic made retailers more “essential.”
Based on a survey of 3,000 consumers in the late summer, the study found the retail industry has an average Brand Intimacy Quotient of 46.35, well above the cross-industry average of 38.1. The only industries scoring higher were media and entertainment and automotive.
Retail’s average score was up 7.7 percent year over year. Wrote MBLM in a press release, “This is not surprising; with concerns about the pandemic, consumers were hoarding specific essential products like water, toilet paper, and disinfectant. With more time at home, there has been also increased spending for personal care products, foods, spirits, and home repair products since the virus began.”
Retail brands saw a 33 percent rise in “Can’t live without,” a measure that determines how essential a brand is to consumers’ lives. Daily usage for retail brands has risen significantly, up 37 percent from the year-ago study.
Amazon.com again led the industry by a strong margin with a Brand Intimate score of 69.4, up from 68.3 a year ago. That was followed in the top-ten by Walmart, 59.7, which significantly improved from 53.9. Rounding out the top ten were Whole Foods, 53.3; Target, 52.4; Costco, 42.7; Home Depot, 41.5; Instacart, 41.4; eBay, 36.4; IKEA, 35.4; and Sephora, 32.6.
MBLM said Amazon’s improving score reflects consumers becoming more dependent on home delivery during the pandemic.
A number of other surveys have also highlighted the larger role trust is playing during the pandemic:
- A Cennox survey found 66 percent of shoppers would avoid stores that fail to meet COVID-19 safety expectations.
- A Brightpearl survey found 42 percent of consumers indicating unreliable delivery had lessened their trust in online shopping since the start of the pandemic.
- Edelman’s “COVID-19 Brand Trust” report found 62 percent of Americans saying they did not think their country would make it through the crisis without brands playing a “critical role” in the fight against the coronavirus.
- Amazon Takes Top Retail Spot in MBLM’s Brand Intimacy COVID Study – MBLM
- The Transformation of Retail – MBLM
- BIS COVID Top Retail Rankings – MBLM
- Shoppers Issue Warning to Retailers as 66% say They Would Avoid Stores That Fail to Meet Covid-19 Safety Expectations, Cennox Survey Reveals – Cennox/PRNewswire
- Trust Barometer Special Report: Brand Trust And The Coronavirus Pandemic – Edelman
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: In what ways has COVID-19 opened up opportunities for retailers to nurture greater loyalty with consumers? Which aspects of retail customer relationship building have become significantly more important amid the pandemic?