Showing just how strongly low prices drove consumer loyalty during the recession, Walmart dominates the newly released 2010 COLLOQUY Retail Loyalty Index.
Previously published in 2008, the COLLOQUY Retail Loyalty Index ranks the top retailers in the nation according to customer loyalty ratings. The 2010 index was built from a December 2009 survey of 3,500 U.S. consumers in five regions: Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Northwest. Respondents were surveyed across four retail categories that included Grocery, Personal Care, Department Stores and Mass Merchants.
The results show that customers claimed the highest loyalty to Walmart in many of the Grocery, Personal Care and Department Store regional categories. Costco had the highest customer loyalty ratings in three out of five Mass Merchant regional categories. In COLLOQUY's index from two years ago, shoppers claimed the most loyalty to Costco, which ranked first in nine out of twenty regional and retail categories.
Other retailers also dropped down in the rankings. For instance, several chains including J.C. Penney, Dillard's and Dollar General that made the top three spot in COLLOQUY's 2008 Retail Loyalty Index for department stores, fell off the 2010 top-three list. As in other retail categories, these names were replaced in large part by Walmart and Target.
"Our 2008 index showed that loyalty marketers worked within a significantly different retail landscape. Customer service, store environment and a wide product selection were the underlying factors for customers' self-professed loyalty. But our 2010 index proves that the Great Recession became the great equalizer," said COLLOQUY Partner Kelly Hlavinka. "Two years later, customers view loyalty differently. We've witnessed a profound change among consumers since the recession hit: Low prices have stepped up to become retail's strongest loyalty lure according to consumers. That is something which was simply not true in 2008."
More details are available here, in a 17-page white paper titled "RetailTALK: What Price Loyalty? The 2010 COLLOQUY Retail Loyalty Index."