Loyalty is all about purpose… and data

By Flora Leoni, Head of Data, CRM and Services at Carrefour Italy

Building an identity it’s not easy in the grocery market where all players are focusing on promotions to create attraction. Obtaining new customers seems more important than retaining the existing ones and competing. It’s a matter of prices not of values.

In a scenario, impacted by inflation and uncertainty, this strategy it’s just a suicidal move and a step-change is more than required if we want to win the fight.

And that’s here that loyalty comes to help, creating a real bond between the brand and the consumer as long as it is based on a true emotional connection. If we’re able to be consistent and link in a strong way the values of customers with the purpose of the brand, we won’t need promotions anymore to gain share of wallet.

At Carrefour in 2018 we redesigned our mission focusing on sustainability: “Act for Food, concrete actions to eat better” is not just a claim but lives in all the initiatives of the company, from the choice of products we put on the shelf, to marketing and communication campaigns, to the relationship with the customer.

Unfortunately, it is not easy to measure how this has impacted the growth of loyalty in Carrefour: the pandemic has upset all the main drivers of loyalty, the lockdown has heavily influenced the behaviour of the customer, and we’re still suffering the tsunami caused  by Covid. After two years the consumer is disoriented and it’s hard to find a conversation with the brand that does not have convenience and accessibility to a light cart   to combat inflation and preserve purchasing power as a leitmotiv.

The last campaigns of grocery retailers are based on convenience and low prices, as well as loyalty is very much focused on coupons and discounts to increase the image of convenience of the retailer.

I personally think  that it is necessary to find other content to support loyalty, as the ones we are just feeding the disloyal customers and are not bringing values to anyone.

And here comes the purpose, to feed loyalty with content and meaning, to build an affinity on common values and to reassure consumers we’re going in the same direction.

And we have powerful weapons to boost the purpose in the conversations with customers. We have data, tons of information that we can use to empower customers and brands.

That’s why it’s important to understand how to take the most out of them in order to address the right contents to the right customers as they can be united by the same values but also have different needs.

Transactional data, navigation data and even second- and third-party data are an immense source of information that could enable a real personalised experience based on advanced algorithms that exploit artificial intelligence and machine learning.

However, alongside analytics goes the generation of content that is too often underestimated. Even today, content is produced by marketing without a real strategy of customization, nor data analysis, it is rare to find data infrastructures and platforms that know how to fully exploit the potential of digital to leverage customization.

So let’s start from data to get insights and start conversations based on purpose and boost the loyalty to the next level.