Speciality retailers could be in a stronger position to retain customers than other brands as they are more likely to have loyalty programmes in place.

According to research by Astound Commerce, 60 per cent of retailers have introduced a loyalty programme, compared with just 22 per cent of brands.

Astound Commerce believes this demonstrates how specialty retailers are ‘much more advanced’ when it comes to omni-channel shopping options and coming up with ways to maintain a loyal customer base.

“Brands and retailers are in a race to differentiate their shopping experience across all channels in a way that both inspires and keeps customers coming back,” said Lauren Freedman, Senior Vice President of Digital Strategy and Chief Merchant of Astound Commerce.

“Specialty retailers in general are providing more advanced technologies at every touchpoint to survive.”

Ms Freedman noted that many of these firms have been active for a decade or more and honed their selling skills over this time.

This, she said, has put them in a “powerful position.”

Ms Freedman went on to state that each retail segment has its own strengths and weaknesses, which means specialty retailers and brands both need to emphasise their key points of differentiation.

For instance, she said highlighting the buying experience or merchandising that they offer could help them “stand out in the eyes of today’s consumers.”

“These features must be front and centre to meet consumer demand,” she added.

Astound Commerce Finds Significant Gaps in Capabilities Between Specialty Retailers and Brands in New Report Astound Commerce