How well do you know your customers?: The top 3 things that’ll keep them around​

Smart brands focus on learning as much as they can about their customers — both current and potential — collecting data about age, sex, likes, dislikes.

While each product appeals to a different group(s) of shoppers, there are a few tried-and-true principles brands need to keep in mind to grow and maintain their customer base, according to a new consumer survey conducted by run with Toluna Quicksurveys.

First Impressions Tend to Last — Let’s be real, looks matter. Whether it’s the image of your physical store or the way your company’s website looks and functions, almost everything you present will leave a lasting impression with consumers.

In fact, 35 percent of shoppers admit the appearance of a storefront or website is what keeps them loyal to a brand or business. For online shoppers, nothing scares them away more quickly than an unorganized website that’s difficult to navigate or looks like it might give them a computer virus. And a slovenly brick-and-mortar will have more customers doing a quick about-face.

Brand Takeaway: Development is not a place to skimp. The thoughtful appearance of your website, storefront and overall brand image will go a long way! Remember: to get consumers to try your product or service, you first have to get them in the door (physically or online).

Quality Keeps Folks Around — The quality of your product also speaks volumes about what kind of company you are. Nobody wants to invest their cash into buying anything that was flimsily assembled! More than 80 percent of consumers say quality of a product trumps all else when it comes to their brand loyalty.

Brand Takeaway: One of the best ways to support your brand’s story and show consumers that your company is genuine and trustworthy is by selling a thoughtful, high-quality product.

Sure, opting for cheaper components might help your company save a few bucks, but you’ll be surprised at how placing an emphasis on quality over quantity can translate into increased brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. Fifty-six percent of shoppers say there is a high correlation between quality and trustworthiness when it comes to companies selling products/services.

Final point: good quality product = a trustworthy, loyal customer base.

Loyalty (Programs, that is!) is Key — Bottom line: people like to save money and feel special. More than half of shoppers (56 percent) said that loyalty programs and other discounts/incentives make them loyal to a brand above any of its competitors.

As a consumer, it’s expected that a store or website you frequent to show its gratitude by hooking you up with occasional discounts, coupons and other promotions in order to incentivize and thank you for your business.

Brand Takeaway: For companies looking to retain their customers on a consistent basis, the importance of implementing loyalty programs and frequent discount-type offers is huge. Companies that understand the importance of a reward systems and exclusivity are already a step ahead. Customers will thank you by sticking around.

Phil Ahad is senior vice president of Toluna QuickSurveys. Prior to joining QuickSurveys in 2011, he held many senior-level marketing roles for companies such as AOL, comScore, CoStar Group and most recently Medmarc Insurance Group.