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Rekindling Retail Romance: 3 in 4 Singaporean Consumers Want More Personalised Rewards from Retailers

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-Most will buy more if there are better rewards, understanding, and communication, even though only 3% currently see themselves as being devoted to their favourite retailers

SINGAPORE /PRNewswire/ — Amidst Singapore’s retail doldrums, 3 in 4 consumers here indicate they will buy more from retailers if they are better rewarded for their loyalty, a study conducted by ICLP finds. This is despite the fact that many consumers are currently lukewarm about their relationships with brands and retailers, giving average to low scores in terms of passion (brand enthusiasm), commitment (loyalty), and intimacy (willingness to share information with a retailer). Out of 750 consumers surveyed, only 3% consider themselves to be devoted to their preferred retail brands, expressing willingness and desire to forge enduring relationships with them.

These findings come at a time when Singaporeans’ love affair with shopping and retail has been under strain. Even as retail sales show a modest year-on-year growth of 2% as of September 2016, there have been a slew of notable closures in the local retail landscape, most recently that of John Little, one of Singapore’s oldest department stores.

“What we are seeing from our research is that many Singaporean consumers still relate to brands and retailers at a transactional level, so when times are uncertain, they easily resort to the myriad of choices that are at their disposal, often literally at their fingertips now,” said Mr Bruno Tay, Country Manager of the global loyalty marketing agency ICLP, which conducted the survey as part of an international study across nine markets. “It’s not too late to turn things around, though. In fact, retailers now have a chance to truly stand out if they appeal to the heart too — by approaching communication, reliability, consistency, reward and recognition from a human perspective.”

The survey reveals underlying gaps in consumers’ retail experience here by modelling the brand relationships after the psychology of individual relationships with friends and romantic partners. Singaporean consumers were asked to rate their retail experience with brands on seven core relationship criteria, namely recognition, rewards, reciprocity, reliability, respect, trust and communication. These were then mapped onto a model based on Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love[i], in partnership with an expert on relationship dynamics Prof Ron Rogge at the University of Rochester in the United States.

Based on the three dimensions of a relationship — passion, commitment, and intimacy, the consumers’ experiences with brands and retailers are then further classified into six types. In increasing order of desirability, these range from empty, liking, casual, romantic, companionate to devoted.

Devoted consumers — who currently form the marginal minority in Singapore — are those most willing to share personal information, opinions and desires with their favourite brands, and are least likely to stray to competitors. Notably, 92% of customers that fall into this group would recommend a brand they are devoted to. This is a significantly higher proportion than for consumers in the other types of relationships with their retail brands. Only 12% of customers in a ‘liking’ relationship would recommend a retailer to others, 27% in a ‘casual’ relationship, 56% in a ‘companionate’ relationship, and 69% in a ‘romantic’ relationship.

Mr Tay added: “The rarity of devotion amongst Singaporean consumers underlines a sizeable gap and opportunity for local retailers and brands. Devoted consumers are keen to be advocates, so driving this pinnacle relationship can have tremendous effect on retailers’ business through word of mouth and social media sharing.”

The research findings suggest that in order to take their relationship with brands and retailers to the next level, Singaporeans do not just want traditional points-based reward programmes, but also personalised rewards. Much like in a relationship with friends and loved ones, they would engage more when they receive genuine gestures that surprise and delight them.

67% of Singaporean consumers will buy more if retailers use their data in carefully considered, contextual ways to better understand their individual needs and preferences. This suggests the need for retailers to better leverage data technology and put in place more robust customer relationship management practices. 61% of consumers also place an emphasis on the importance of better communication, indicating that they will buy more if brands communicate with them better, in ways that express reciprocity and shared passion.

Within the global context of the study, Singaporean consumers appear to parallel quite closely their counterparts in Hong Kong and Australia, where only 1% and 3% respectively are in devoted relationships with brands. This is in stark contrast with the 21% of consumers in India who are devoted to their preferred brands. However, across the nine markets surveyed, including United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, mainlandChina, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Australia, there is broad consensus that a well thought out loyalty programme can help deepen consumers’ connection with brands.

“Thinking about our own personal relationships, we know that people fall in and out of love and friendships — lured by ‘greener pastures’,” Mr Tay said. “Now we know that the same thinking can be applied to brand relationships that are dynamic and ever changing. Retailers looking to build and maintain devoted customer relationships should seek to truly understand the emotional factors that drive consumer loyalty.”


*Deeply Devoted Research undertaken by Survey Sampling International across 750 Singaporean consumers, on behalf of ICLP, July 2016.  Random error on a sample of this size is +/- 2.2% at the 95% confidence level.

About ICLP

ICLP is a leading end-to-end loyalty agency that drives customer devotion for clients across multiple sectors including retail, travel and technology. ICLP transforms customer relationships into personalised, profitable and emotional connections. Blending data analytics, strategy, technology and creative expertise, ICLP delivers customer-centric engagement strategies that help brands to drive acquisition, repeat purchase and advocacy.

With over 25 years of experience and 26 global offices across Europe, the US, Middle East, Asia and Australia, ICLP drives devotion for global brands including Dunhill, Harrods, L’Oréal, Estee Lauder, The Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, Esprit, Cathay Pacific and Guess.

ICLP is part of the Collinson Group, a global leader in influencing customer behaviour to drive revenue and value. Collinson Group offers a unique blend of industry and sector specialists who together provide market-leading experience in delivering products and services across four core capabilities: Loyalty, Lifestyle Benefits, Insurance, and Assistance.

For more information, please visit

Additional Information:

  • Study parameters: The study was based on seven components of loyalty — recognition, rewards, reciprocity, reliability, respect, trust and communication, where primary data was combined with Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love, a prominent theoretical model in psychology and human relationships.
  • Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love: Sternberg describes eight types of human relationships which differ from one another based on the presence or absence of three main components — intimacy, passion and commitment. The combination of these components forms the following kinds of relationships:
    • Non-love: Absence of all three components of love
    • Empty love: Strong commitment, but no intimacy or passion
    • Liking: Intimacy, but no commitment or passion
    • Fatuous love: Passion, but no intimacy or commitment
    • Romantic love: Intimacy and passion, but no commitment
    • Companionate love: Intimacy and commitment, but no passion
    • Consummate love: Full combination of all three components

From these, we have extracted six key types of relationships with brands, which match the types (or a combination of types) of human relationships identified by Sternberg:

    • Empty relationship: Loyalty to the brand due to trust in the quality of products and services, but no engagement
    • Liking relationship: Consumers in this type of relationship like the brand or retailers because they offer consistent quality and value for money, but are not engaged and likely to switch when the next best offer comes along
    • Casual relationship: A little bit of passion, intimacy and commitment, and consumers in this type of relationship like the retailer, but are not overly excited about it and avoid getting too engaged
    • Romantic relationship: Consumers in this type of relationship are enthusiastic about a brand, but are not very loyal and will not shy away from shopping with other retailers on occasion
    • Companionate relationship: Consumers in a companionate relationship with their preferred brands or retailers are more loyal and willing to share information with the brand, but not out of passion — this is out of commitment
    • Devoted relationship: Enthusiastic about a brand or retailer, engaged, very loyal and strong advocates




























Consumers’ relationships with brands are fluid, and can change from one type to another. It is also worth noting that these are not linear relationships.

  • Components of human relationships and how they relate to brand relationships:
    • Intimacy — Willingness to share information and interest to get information about the brand
    • Passion — Brand enthusiasm
    • Commitment – Loyalty

[i] Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love

Source: ICLP

Written by asiafreshnews

December 8, 2016 at 2:57 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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