Modern consumers are spoilt for choice. So how is brand loyalty created, and what keeps a buyer going back to a favoured brand – especially in the highly competitive car market?
The answer isn’t as simple as it seems, says Des Fenner, General Manager of Datsun South Africa, who is uniquely qualified to answer the question since Datsun launched its first offering in the GO series three short years ago, and is already attracting repeat customers with its new models.
“Customer loyalty is something that all companies strive to achieve. The first factor that begins building car brand loyalty in South Africa is undoubtedly one thing – emotion. A car makes an emotional connection with a buyer because it satisfies his or her needs as far as design, visual appeal and features are concerned.”
“Then, as we have found with the Datsun GO series, the practical issues follow. Without these to support the initial, emotional appeal of the car, the chances of building buyers’ future loyalty so that they buy from you and then return is very limited.”
Keeping people faithful to the Datsun brand has shown that they buy Datsun again because:
- Of the brand’s value for their hard-earned money
Value for money goes beyond the initial attractive price tag. Mr Fenner points out that once a car has been acquired, it becomes part of the average owner’s life for up to six years. So, loyalty is built by a positive experience as far as reliability, fuel economy, service and maintenance costs, and even low insurance costs, are concerned.”
Maintenance and repair costs, as illustrated by the independent Kinsey Report, show that since its introduction, the Datsun brand has offered buyers the most economical service and repair parts available on the South African market. The report named the Datsun GO as the most affordable car to maintain and repair in both the 2015 and 2016 editions.
Another key factor linked to value for money is knowing that you are buying into a quality brand. In the case of Datsun, the brand stood out at the recent Ipsos Quality Awards, taking a bronze award in the ‘Best New Volume Passenger Car’ category.
- Buyers can upgrade and select a ‘known factor’ that changes shape to meet their needs
The Datsun GO range fits this desire by enabling many buyers to acquire their first brand new car. It can then be swapped for the Datsun GO+, a family vehicle that can carry up to seven people in comfort, or a Datsun GO+ Panel Van, which doubles as a business delivery vehicle and ‘after-hours’ vehicle for the owner.
- Of better trade-in prices for ‘staying within the brand’
The value of having a car that is serviced and maintained by a Datsun dealer comes into its own at trade-in time. The dealer buying the car back can easily reference the service history of the car. Practically, and because the buyer is staying within the brand, this means more money back when trading a car in.
“Added to these important brand-building factors is another differentiator that contributes to building loyalty. A car brand that has dealers across the country is more likely to be bought again, than a car that doesn’t offer this advantage. The simple fact is that knowing that when you are travelling and you are never too far from a dealership, builds peace of mind and adds to buyer satisfaction,” concludes Mr Fenner.
Since introduction, Datsun is now sold across 107 Dealerships countrywide providing a vast network footprint.