Down the Rabbit Hole of Brand Loyalty Turned Sour

consumer shopping

Consumers love brands. They will buy more than one item from a certain store if they had a good experience from their previous purchase. They will also be loyal to the brand if it’s proven to be of good quality. That’s one of the reasons Apple and Nike have a huge following.

But what happens when those loyal consumers have a bad experience from their latest transaction?

Consumers Doubt Quality

First, they get excited about the brand’s latest product and they prepare to be one of the first people to own it. Everything is right with the world. The brand is releasing good products as usual, so of course, loyal customers will be there to buy them. Then, disaster struck. They saw an online shop selling those coveted goods for a discounted price, completely disregarding the MAP policy the brand had in place. Customers may not be aware of that policy so they think it’s just a regular reseller and the products are exactly what they wanted. Little did they know that these were counterfeit items, and that accounts for the price gap.

When a customer is used to quality products from a brand, they relax their guard and think nothing could go wrong. However, with the prevalence of counterfeit items everywhere, they might see their loyalty being challenged due to the bad experience. Even if your brand had no control over the situation, you suffer due to distributors of substandard items.

They Look Elsewhere

consumer shopping

Doubt is not enough to make up the customer’s mind to switch to a competing brand, but once it’s planted, they will be wary of everything. Even if you slash your own prices, if they notice another store offering a lower price, they remember their experience and will not be swayed to make a purchase. Before you know it, they’re already checking other brands that they have tried in the past and have not presented the same problems you had.

Does this mean you can do nothing but watch as they jump ship? Take the loss of this customer to finally act on standardizing prices. It’s no question that online shops have a little more breathing room when it comes to operating costs, but unless you plan to offer products exclusively online, you need brick and mortar stores to get decent sales as well. And while loyalty is strong, discounts are a siren call. Standardizing prices and penalizing those who will break your policy will help even out the playing field and protect your brand from anyone who just wants to claim their affiliation.

They Turn Against You

Those customers who left five-star reviews before might suddenly be the customers leaving negative reviews. You may think it’s unfair, but if they had a bad experience–and because they did not buy an authentic product–you cannot extend the warranty to any defective items, nor can you guarantee that they bought a product in good condition. They saw their money wasted and you can’t help them. The only way they feel they can air their grievance is through leaving bad reviews, which will damage your reputation in the eyes of new customers.

You may think it’s unfair to deal with the aftermath of someone else’s failure to follow your pricing policy, but you are responsible for protecting your brand’s image. Do your best not to let anyone sully it.