Understanding The Drivers Of Shopper Loyalty Across Retail Channels


With increasing competition across channels, retailers and their manufacturing partners need to understand the factors that drive shoppers to patronize their stores, differentiate themselves from competitors, and optimize the shopper’s journey to secure future loyalty.  Using an online survey of over 8,500 shoppers and structural equation modeling (SEM), this research uncovers key factors that drive trips and loyalty along the path to purchase for brick-and-mortar grocery, pharmacy, mass, dollar, and convenience stores. The model identifies the key drivers of shopper loyalty within each of the five major retail channels selling groceries, drug, and general merchandise products, and estimates the direct and indirect impact of shoppers’ pre-store, in-store, point-of-purchase, and post-shop perceptions on future store patronage. The study benchmarks the performance of retail channels on these loyalty drivers and the performance of specific chains within each channel, and identifies retailers’ competitive strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities for improvement.

Dr. Candace Adams is the founder of the Center for Insights, Strategy and Innovation where she consults with nonprofits, retailers, consumer packaged goods companies, government agencies, and marketing research firms (e.g., The Bowen Group and SmartRevenue) to deliver on their promises of customer and client satisfaction. Dr. Adams brings her research and analytic skills as well as her retail and manufacturing experience to guide strategy and innovation for clients. Prior to her consulting positions, Dr. Adams served as Senior Director for Customer In-store Experience Insights at Walmart where she helped shape Walmart’s knowledge of the changes needed to improve the customer experience, create the ideal shopping environment, and understand which formats worked best for shopper segments. She can be reached at adamscr4@vcu.edu.

The current research is a culmination of insights derived from the author’s work over a 10-year period while serving as Senior Director, In-Store Customer Experience at Walmart, and continuing at SmartRevenue. Data for this article were collected by SmartRevenue where the author was President, Global Retail Strategy.