In a 2009 UK based survey commissioned by the 'The Loyalty Practice at HS&P' it was found that almost one quarter of British consumers say they are less brand loyal now than they were 12 months ago.
According to Louise Isaacs, head of The Loyalty Practice, "With cash-conscious consumers paying closer attention to the purchases they make, businesses are having to fight harder to keep customers coming back."
And his solution: "brands must focus more on engaging customersduring their buying cycle to capture more data and build better relationships."
Obvious really - in a business environment where customers are more demanding and brand loyalty harder to capture and keep,customer engagement is key to an organization's success.
In a recent study on engagement by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 80% of executives said that better engagement translates into improved customer loyalty, and 75% said they believed it meant higher profits.
Engagement is critical to transforming customers into active advocates for a product or business. That's where Rich Internet Applications (RIA) are making headway.
In March 2007, Forrester Research published The Business Case for Rich Internet Applications, a report based on interviews with RIA technology providers and designers, as well as Forrester Research clients and customers. The report revealed that "well-designed RIAs can produce eye-popping results that can help prove the value of current investments and make the case for future RIA projects."
RIAs can make customer interactions more compelling, dynamic, and useful - in short - more engaging. And this is what will give businesses that critical edge over their competitors when times are tough - and it looks like these times are settling in for quite a long stay.