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Does Repeat Buying Truly Mean Customer Loyalty?

Profile photo of Sunday William Submitted by Sunday William March 7, 2016

Most of us assume that customers who repeatedly buy from us are always loyal to our brand. But this could be misleading. Customers can repeatedly buy a product for different reasons and these should not be taken for loyalty. The very obvious reasons that could trigger repeat buying from you are:

 Low cost of your product – If your product is cheaper than that of the competitor, the customer will more likely buy from you again and again.

 High cost of switching to the competition – If your customers discover that there is too much stress and cost switching to other brands then you are more likely to keep benefiting from repeat purchases.

 There is a valid contractual agreement – If you have contractual agreement with a customer to buy from you in particular time frame then you will most likely enjoy repeat buying.

 You are offering Reward for purchases – If you are offering rewards to repeat customers then most people will want to benefit from the rewards, discounts, or incentives you are offering by buying again and again.

 There is Difficulty in finding alternative brand/supplier/competitor – If customers are having hard time finding or testing out new brand to use then you can still be enjoying repeat purchases.

 Recommendations in your brand’s favor – If friends, family members, employers, colleagues recommend your brand or any of them have special relationship with you, then you could have more repeat customers.

 It’s just habitual for some people – There are people that just have the habit of repeatedly buying a product until they no longer want to.

The above and other reasons could explain why customers buying again and again. However, repeat buying is not loyalty. Customer loyalty is much more than that.

We should consider customer loyalty as the desire for the satisfaction which a product offers and the willingness to hang out even when there is a problem. Emotional connection comes into play with customer loyalty.

More so, loyal customers do not seek for the competitors unless when and where necessary. They communicate to a brand on the problems and can recommend possible solutions.

Repeat customers are not necessarily loyal customers but loyal customers are repeat customers.

So, what is your take on this topic? Does repeat buying implies customer loyalty all the time?


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Profile photo of Sunday William
I started with a College Degree in Business but I have been an Internet marketer and writer for 10+ years and have written 5,000+ high quality articles in diverse topics. I have also written 20,000+ comments on Kingged.com and 1,000+ blogs and/or websites. I have been working closely with Kingsley, the admin of Kingged.com for 10+ years and have been in the Kingged.com's administrative team since the first day in 2012. I highly recommend Kingged.com's Coaching and Partnership Program.

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21 Responses to “ Does Repeat Buying Truly Mean Customer Loyalty?” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Lisa Profile

    Sunday,I would say loyal customers not only keep buying from you but they also give you recommendations to their friends and acquaintences to buy from you as well. It’s the TRUST that they have in you that makes them loyal to you.
    Lisa recently posted…Why do social realtors protect their wonderful valuable tweets?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Kristi Hines Profile

    A loyal customer who loves your business is going to be worth more to your business in the long run because they’ll do more than just buy – they’ll recommend your business to others. A repeat customer that just buys from you because their options are limited is good, but not as good.
    Kristi Hines recently posted…Never Run Out of Blog Post Ideas: 25 Content Marketing ResourcesMy Profile

  • Profile photo of redtiger Profile

    Hi Sunday

    You are right that repeat customers are not necessarily loyal customers. Loyalty is a two-way street. There are people who would only buy a certain make of car. Why? The answer is probably because they have experienced it as being reliable. It is almost as if they feel the car is loyal to them therefore they are loyal to the brand in return. They trust the product to be good therefore they stick to it.

    Here is no doubt an emotional connection at work. The secret to getting loyal customers is to become a brand that instills trust. Show your loyalty and you will get loyalty in return.
    redtiger recently posted…Growing Old Waiting for TrafficMy Profile

  • Profile photo of Jasper Oldersom Profile

    Hey Sunday,

    I do not think repeat buying truly means loyalty. For example, my last 2 phones have been Samsung’s — I’m very satisfied with their phones. But if the new iPhone is more to my liking, I’m switching over.

    I think loyalty starts with your WHY. What do you stand for as a company? If people can identify with this like no other brand, you’ll get loyal customers. Think about Harley-Davidson customers. They are not afraid to show their Harley pride by getting a tattoo. How’s that for loyalty?

    Apple also has a strong why that people can identify with and they tend to have very loyal customers.

    Repeat buying is therefore only a signal of a potential loyal customer, but not the definition of customer loyalty in my opinion.

    – Jasper
    Jasper Oldersom recently posted…Do You Leverage These Swiping Secrets To Make Your Web Copy More Effective?My Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hey Jasper,
      Your opinion quite resonates with my thinking: “Repeat buying is therefore only a signal of a potential loyal customer, but not the definition of customer loyalty.”

      I agree with you that repeat customers and loyalty will depend on the strong WHY of the company or brand.

      The WHY should be embedded in Trust and value, if the customer is to repeat buying and remain loyal.

      Repeat customer doesn’t necessarily have to be loyal customers but if the WHY of the brand is strong then loyalty could be built.
      Sunday William recently posted…Who Is a Smart Content Marketer To You?My Profile

    • Profile photo of Abigail Chow Profile

      I like this comment by Jasper, particularly the point that repeat buying is therefore only a signal of a potential loyal customer, but not the definition of customer loyalty!

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    Hi Sunday,
    You are right, repeat customers don’t always mean loyal customers. Many customers will remain loyal for different reasons than buying again and again.

    The points you have shared are in order and must be minded if one is to maintain loyalty from customers.

    Thanks for sharing this insight, anyway!

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hi Sunday,
    It becomes important that businesses understands what readily makes a customer to buy again.

    Although I will say that emotional attachment to a product cannot be ruled out, nevertheless, the reasons like those shared above will go a long way to inspire repeat buying.

    Understanding the audience is important if we must inspire them to buy again. We should learn of what value they want and tap into loyalty.

  • Profile photo of Adam D. Mason Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    I like this question that you pose. I think we all strive for customer loyalty, but what really is a loyal customer.

    For some reason I keep thinking of sports teams. There are many sports teams that are not producing a quality product yet due to location or peer pressure have a huge fan following.

    Personally I would not be happy if my customers felt this way. I want my customers to buy my products because they genuinely solve my customers problems.

    But, to your question, does repeat buying mean loyal customers?

    No, I don’t think so.

    I think the branding and the service are what create loyal customers, not the act of buying a product.
    Adam D. Mason recently posted…10 Tips On Time Management From A Lazy GunnyMy Profile

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Adam,
      You are right with this conclusion “I think the branding and the service are what create loyal customers, not the act of buying a product.” There is no way too much way about it.

      Repeat customers are not necessarily loyal customers. Loyalty is a function of deep seated emotional satisfaction and likeness!

  • Profile photo of Luana Spinetti Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    Interesting topic, and I agree with you: repeat buying doesn’t make a customer “loyal”, but loyalty is expressed through repeat buying and… something more.

    And I would call that care.

    Loyal customers are so emotionally attached to a brand that they won’t see it as a business anymore, but as a person. Personification happens when customers feel that the brand they just purchased from genuinely cares for them as human beings — they’re not just a number for the brand, they’re not just accounts that make the brand money, but they are real people with a name and a personality.

    It’s human nature to respond to kindness with kindness, so the more a brand behaves as a friend to the customer, the more the customer will grow an emotional attachment to the brand.

    In other words, a loyal customer is a brand’s friend — and a very good one. Friends care about each other, they won’t abandon a friend just because another gives them something more; affection goes beyond practical benefits.

    More, if you lack something, a friend will try to help you make up for that lack. So a loyal customer will tell a brand that some service or product is lacking before they seek a competitor. Like a good friend, a loyal customer will always give the brand they love a chance.

    So it’s not only care — trust also plays a big role in this relationship.

    And it’s reciprocal — a loyal customer cares and trust their brand-friend, but the brand also trusts and cares about loyal customers, sometimes even beyond business (the human factor).

    Personally, in my little freelance world, it gives me such a joy when my clients think of me as a friend and not just a service provider. Something is working well, there. :)

    Just my two cents.

    ~ Luana

    • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

      Hi Luana,
      What a powerful contribution! You made very solid points in this conversation. I agree with you that a loyal customer can be compared to a good friend.

      With this friend, care and trust are reciprocated. It becomes necessary to think of customer relationship.

      Repeat buying does not equal loyalty but loyalty can be expressed in repeat buying.

      Hence, a customer that has an emotional attachment like a friend will repeatedly buy and also make recommendations for improvement.

      Thanks for leaving your thoughts!
      Sunday William recently posted…What Exit Strategy Do You Have in Place For Your Online Business?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Abigail Chow Profile

    Hi Sunday,

    What an interesting question.

    I am also one of those who assume customers buying repeatedly means they are loyal, but it’s interesting to learn that’s not always the case.

    I learned a lot from this and the replies here.

  • Profile photo of Daniel Chen Profile

    Hello Sunday,

    I don’t know, but I have to say I only buy repeatedly from a company I am loyal to.

    Maybe that’s only me?

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