By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: According to a poll called ‘What Drives Customer Loyalty?’ undertaken by Fujitsu Australia and ACA Research, consumers are lobbying for informed sales staff and more products or brands in stock over Christmas.

The research found that of 1,007 Australian consumers who shopped in supermarkets, liquor stores, department stores, discount department stores, apparel and accessories stores, household goods and consumer electronics stores, 75 per cent ranked informed sales as the most important factor in consumer electronics stores, while 58 per cent said having their desired products in stock was the second most important scenario.

Of those who shopped for consumer electronics and household goods, 74 per cent said they would be more likely to increase their level of spending if the retailer had provided an above-average experience, while 91 per cent said they would recommend the retail outlet to a friend.

The research also found that less than one in four customers felt that current customer loyalty programs offered around Australia are excellent, with 35 per cent reporting benefits offered by loyalty programs were poor.

More price discounts (79 per cent), loyalty points that never expire (73 per cent) and free product incentives (63 per cent) were the top three solutions to this problem, as reported by those involved in the poll. 

In addition, a surprising amount of respondents (47 per cent) said they would increase their expenditure with a retailer if the store included the latest ‘smart’ shopping technology such as self-service checkouts and in-store information kiosks, with 30 per cent saying they have already increased their expenditure in stores that offer these features.

Customers who shopped at consumer electronics stores said an informative and easy-to-use website attached to the store/chain in order to research products before buying was important, with 62 per cent of respondents saying they valued this feature.

"Consumer Electronics customers have very specific requirements for an exceptional retail experience which are very different to those shopping in supermarkets or department stores. Friendly helpful staff still ranked at number one similar to other retail sectors, but customers in the consumer electronics sector rated good pricing/specials and available and informed staff very highly at 36% each, a much higher rating than the average which was 22% and 20% respectively,” Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand retail consulting director, Vaughn Clair, told

"This indicates that consumers still view the consumer electronics sector as very price competitive and given the technical nature of a lot of the products being sold (eg. flat panel TVs), still need a lot of help from informed sales staff in making the right decision for them.

"In store technology such as kiosks and digital media as well as the retailers website are an effective means of supplementing the store staff in providing the right information to customers to make a decision. Given the right staff and technology to assist them, customers in the consumer electronic sector are likely to increase spending at that retailer by up to 60 per cent."