Brand loyalty increases when other customers look, act like us

Apr 25, 2012
A study co-authored by Michigan State University marketing expert Clay Voorhees suggests the presence and behavior of other customers is just as important to brand loyalty as customer service. Credit: Michigan State University

The more other customers look and act like us, the more likely we are to stay loyal to a particular store or product, according to a groundbreaking study co-authored by a Michigan State University marketing expert.

Surprisingly, the presence and behavior of other customers is just as important to as , said Clay Voorhees. As a real-world example, he noted the fact that Abercrombie & Fitch offered to pay troublemaking cast members of the MTV reality show "The Jersey Shore" to stop wearing its clothes.

"We're sizing up other customers all the time," said Voorhees, assistant professor of marketing in the Broad College of Business. "Customers want to be around people they relate to, and the effect that the image of other customers has on loyalty was surprisingly dramatic."

The study, which appears in the Journal of Retailing, is the first comprehensive examination of the role of other customers on .

Voorhees, along with scholars from Iowa State University and Texas Christian University, studied the customer loyalty of more than 840 people in three settings – a clothing store, a sit-down restaurant and a theme park.

Customer loyalty increased when the participants viewed other customers as similar to themselves. The general physical appearance and behavior of the other customers also played a role.

"Basically, do I feel like they're the same type of person as me?" said Voorhees. "Do they look good? Do they behave? These factors increase the likelihood of people returning to the store."

Companies that incorporate these factors into their marketing efforts could increase loyalty by 30 percent – nearly doubling the ability to predict customer loyalty compared to traditional survey approaches that narrowly focus on the quality of service provided by the employees.

Voorhees said most companies today have become good at customer service and managing their employees.

"So the next frontier is how to better manage their portfolio of customers," he said. "This might give them the advantage for increasing loyalty."

Explore further: Study looks at stock market performance of polarizing brands

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Staff 'false smiles' won't bring customers back: study

May 11, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Companies should invest effort in convincing their staff about their marketing messages as well as trying to convince their customers, according to The University of Queensland's Associate Professor of Marketing ...

Recommended for you

Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

12 hours ago

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices ...

Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly, study finds

Apr 16, 2014

As companies file their annual proxy statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have ...

Investment helps keep transport up to speed

Apr 16, 2014

Greater investment in education and training for employees will be required to meet the future needs of the transport and logistics industry, according to recent reports by Monash University researchers.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...