UAE retailers vie to win customer loyalty Published-Nov 17, 2015
Dubai:Competition among retailers in the UAE to gain and retain the loyalty of customers is heating up, according to industry experts.

“We are seeing that the appetite for consumers in the UAE to engage in loyalty progammes is strong. Although loyalty programmes participation appears to have levelled off in many mature markets, the UAE is still registering growth, Paul Lacey, Managing Director of Aimia Middle East, a data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company, told Gulf News on the sidelines of the Middle East’s Customer Festival conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

According to 2015 Aimia Loyalty Lens report, 84 per cent of consumers are members of at least one loyalty programme, a five per cent year-on-year increase, compared to 85 per cent global average across 11 countries.

In the study, France has the highest number of consumers subscribing to loyalty programmes at 90 per cent, followed by Canada and India at 87 per cent each.

On average, Lacey said that UAE consumers subscribe to loyalty programmes in 2.7 different sectors such as supermarkets and airlines, again aligning closely with the global average of 2.8 sectors.

In the UAE, consumer loyalty to supermarkets was highest (43 per cent), followed by airlines (35 per cent) and restaurants (30 per cent).

“Nation’s consumers are among the most savvy and active users of social media. They are willing to share valuable information with brands. Consumers are connecting with brands via multiple channels, which mean retailers must do more to drive customer loyalty,” he said.

These characteristics are ideal for marketers looking to build “genuine relationships” and loyalty based on “relevant offers and personalised communications”.

Rainer Rathgeber, COO at Etisalat Group, said that the customer of the future is unlikely to take kindly to too much proximity or too many approaches. “We should be close to our customers and need to know them but have no right to interfere in their private lives,” he said.

Lacey said that consumers’ appetite for greater convenience in their shopping experience has also increased substantially with mobile phones.

Benjamin Ampen, head of revenue at Twitter, said that the shift to the mobile mindset is not a trend — it is happening now as it enhances customer experience. Mobile should be an “integral part” of a company’s DNA, he added.

Ampen said that more than 80 per cent of the users use Twitter on mobile phones, with consumers on average unlocking their mobile phones 150 times every day. Using data (that which customers share with brands) and making the customer engagement more relevant could have a strong impact on sales, he added.

With the majority of consumers willing to share personal data with marketers, Lacey said that brands doing business in the UAE have a “golden opportunity” to establish open channels of communication and to use personal data to develop compelling and tailored offers and benefits.

“With competition heating up, marketers will need more than compelling one-time offers and promotions. These new entrants are bringing their customer acquisition and loyalty strategies to the UAE,” he said.

Sourced By: gulfnews.com

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