Price, quality and “the Amazon effect” are all factors that play into brand loyalty in Malaysia, according to researcher Nielsen, while Google-sponsored research shows a wide take-up of loyalty and rewards schemes.

Luca De Nard, MD of Nielsen Malaysia, explained the Amazon effect as the combination of offering consumers a wider choice than ever before along with greater price awareness.

One way this has manifested itself is in how people are utilising the internet. “There are Facebook groups in Malaysia, where consumers can hunt or even broker deals for new products at competitive prices,” he told Marketing Interactive.

But consumers can tap into less high-tech approaches. “We also have trucks selling fresh meat, poultry and produce in neighbourhoods offering consumers convenience at prices that rival supermarkets,” De Nard pointed out.

“At the same time, traditional grocery retailers are trying to find ways to retain profitability levels in a world where home delivery is beginning to undermine margins,” he added.

Money is of course an important factor: 47% of Malaysians will switch brands when offered price reductions or promotions, while 49% will switch when they see better value for money, Nielsen’s research shows.

But a significant proportion (35%) will also stick with trusted brands and brands that can demonstrate better quality.

Further, brand switching and experimentation is more prevalent in food and beverages than in personal care products, Nielsen found.

But these are FMCG product categories that don’t come with loyalty schemes. Research from online news portal MalaysiaKini, funded by Google, shows that most Malaysians (92% of a 1,029-strong online survey) have signed up to some sort of loyalty scheme. Fuel stations (69%), e-wallets (46%) and retail (36%), were the most common areas, followed by food/beverage in the form of restaurants and cafés (32%), e-commerce (32%), telecoms (31%), and transport (30%).

The greatest attraction of such schemes is the ability to redeem points for tangible benefits, cited by 76% of respondents.

Interestingly for publishers, 87% also said they would participate in rewards and loyalty programmes created by news outlets.

Sourced from Marketing Interactive, MalaysiaKini; additional content by WARC staff