Study: 'Connected' consumers shop, recommend favorite retailers more often

SAN MATEO, Calif. — New data released Friday by Motista suggests that retailers should look beyond the traditional set of holiday emotions, such as family and giving, to understand what’s really motivating consumers to spend more. The data also revealed different ways in which men and women interact and connect with retailers, which may be useful as retailers plan their holiday marketing campaigns.

According to data collected by Motista as part of its ongoing retail study, overall awareness and familiarity with 10 major retail brands it tracks were high (90% and 71%, respectively), but only 18% of consumers indicated an emotional connection to their retailers. With only 24% of consumers indicating they would make their next relevant purchase with the retailers they frequent today, retailers must establish and leverage emotional connection to retain their customers and increase sales, Motista suggested. Key findings in the survey illustrated that building deeper connections with consumers can help drive higher levels of purchase intent, response rates, online engagement and advocacy.

According to the study, connected consumers are better retail consumers — consumers who feel emotional connections to their retailers are four times more likely to shop those retailers first when relevant needs arise, as compared to consumers who are simply familiar and satisfied with their retailers. Connected customers also respond to direct mail from their retailers twice as often as consumers who are familiar and satisfied.

Connected consumers also are more engaged through social and mobile channels. Consumers that feel a connection to their retailers are shopping their retailers’ websites via mobile devices ten times more often than consumers who are simply satisfied. And these connected consumers are following their retailers on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, four times more often.

Connected consumers are likely to recommend their favorite retailers to friends and family. When consumers feel a connection with their retail brand, they are 50% more likely to advocate for the brand and recommend the retailer to others.

“The findings of our most recent study will help retailers as they plan for the 2011 holiday season,” stated Alan Zorfas, co-founder and chief marketing officer of Motista. “But the long-term takeaway for retailers is the importance of establishing more relevant connections with their customers."

Motista also segmented the data to look more closely at how men and women interact with retail brands, and the data reveals that genders connect and experience retailers in different ways. For example, men take retail more personally. Men are 50% more likely to feel that their preferred retailer makes them a more valuable person. Appearing to seek to enhance their identities and sense of self through the retailers they choose, men are also 53% more likely to feel that people will see them differently because they shop at a particular retailer and 30% more likely to feel that their retailer personalizes its relationship with them.

Women, on the other hand, establish connections with retailers around the perception that the retailers are fun and stylish. Women are 18% more likely to connect with retailers they consider to be fun, and 18% more likely to connect with their retailer if they believe the retailer is stylish.