Pieper Perfumery Branch

Tradition and investment: The family business modernized the branches and the online portal even during the corona crisis.

(Photo: PR)

Cologne The corona crisis could not intimidate the management of the Pieper perfumery. On the contrary. The retail chain defied the blockades and went on the offensive. Herne’s company invested in a new branch and several existing ones. In 2020, the online store also received a technical and visual update.

Customers of the perfumery, with its 140 branches in four federal states, have rewarded their efforts in difficult times: this is the result of a study carried out by the Yougov market research institute. The study determines how loyal customers are to a brand, and which vendors across 33 categories were able to increase consumer loyalty the most compared to the previous year.

Pieper is right up front here. The perfume chain increased by more than 16 percentage points to an absolute value of almost 60. “We’re always a little more personal in the area of ​​customer loyalty — as a family business, we just act differently than corporations,” he says CEO Oliver Pieper.

In fact, competitors like Douglas or the Flaconi online store have not improved significantly in terms of customer loyalty. “Last year’s survey already showed that companies do well if they invest during the Corona period.

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We are now seeing this trend again,” says study leader Felix Leiendecker of Yougov. Douglas, for his part, announced in the summer of 2021 that 60 of his 430 branches in Germany want to close

Alltours has also increased customer loyalty in the tour operator segment. Dusseldorf increased its value in one year by 13 percentage points to 70 points. “Thanks to our company’s 49-year history, we still benefit from increased customer loyalty,” says Alltours spokesman Jens Völmicke. In addition, his company “did some things right during the crisis.”

According to Völmicke, Alltours kept its affiliated hotels open even when occupancy was low, while many competitors closed their houses. The company also offered its customers more flexible cancellation options than usual. For example, they were able to react to corona-related restrictions in a short time by canceling trips, without incurring any costs.

This service was originally a reaction to the pandemic, says Völmicke. But it has been tested and will continue. Alltours also took advantage of the Corona period for new investments. Last year, the company integrated 14 branches of the RSO travel agency into its branch network. In total, Alltours now has 80 owned offices and 90 franchised offices.

With the high commitment during the crisis, Alltours wants to lay the foundation for future growth. The company announced at the end of October that there should be 20 percent more guests in 2023. In addition, the package tour offer has been expanded to around 40 countries worldwide; Alltours also secured additional flight contingents. According to Alltours, the calculation seems to be working. “Reserves for the summer are currently above the pre-crisis level,” says Völmicke.

Hotels are also benefiting from the renewed desire to travel. “During the coronavirus crisis, the industry almost completely collapsed and now it is making a comeback. “After the Corona years, the travel industry is about to grow,” explains Leiendecker. At the same time, he points out that the segment has “overwhelmingly positive developments in customer loyalty.”

B&B Hotels is at the top of the customer loyalty rankings with an increase of eleven percentage points. Overall, sizeable price increases in the hosting trade might have helped the rather cheap provider become more popular. According to the comparison portal Idealo.de, hotels have increased the average price per night by 27.5 percent, from 109 to 139 euros in one year.

Willingness to change grows

Steep price increases are also making life difficult for established service station brands. In the ranking, the Westfalia and Agip brands showed an upward trend, while renowned suppliers such as Esso, shell o Aral fell out of favor with customers. “As products become more expensive, customers switch brands more frequently. They expect further savings,” says Leiendecker.

However, Westfalia (62.5) and Agip (59.6) also start from a comparatively low level of customer loyalty. “Larger leaps are possible, especially with younger brands that are not yet very well known,” says Leiendecker. On the other hand, if the brands have already reached a high level, it is more difficult to improve the loyalty value further.

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The most popular coffee brands show that this is still possible. 90 percent of German adults drink coffee and most trust their brand. According to the Yougov study, loyalty to the preferred supplier is not as pronounced as among coffee drinkers. Three brands create more than 80 percent value. This means that more than four out of five customers would buy the respective brand again.

chibo, which opened its first store in Hamburg in 1955, achieved the best mark (87.1) and even gained new customers at this high level. “The growth of chibo it can be seen as relaxation,” says Leiendecker. “Like many others, the brand had lost loyalty during the coronavirus crisis.”

Loyalty to the niche product

An example of a young brand with a high level of customer loyalty is Love Nature. The subsidiary of the consumer goods group handle it has only been selling its green cleaning products since 2020. Love Nature has now risen in value by eleven percentage points – around 82 percent, the absolute value is also above average. In the category of detergents and cleaning agents, no brand grew more than the handle-Daughter.

The success of Love Nature could have been even greater without the pandemic and the energy crisis, says study leader Leiendecker. Because in times of crisis, brands for daily use in the high price segment would have a harder time. “When money gets tight at the end of the month, many return to cheaper products,” says the Yougov expert.

Love Nature is based on recyclable packaging and does not use ingredients of animal origin. Some pharmacies and supermarkets also offer Love Nature detergents and refillable dishwashing liquids. However, until now this service has only been used by a minority. At the end of 2021, the market shares for self-service systems were between 0.1 percent for detergents and one percent for bathroom cleaners. This is the result of the figures of market researchers from Euromonitor International.

In general, the market still offers a lot of potential. According to the Henkel website, the number of people who make a conscious decision to make their home more sustainable is still comparatively small. maren lahm, marketing Director of Henkel, confirms that customers have “a high level of trust” in the brand. “Love Nature is based on a consistently sustainable concept,” says Lahm. This is confirmed, for example, by external certificates such as the EU Ecolabel.

More: Electronics from Germany are in demand again, but only in niches

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