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Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Our News

Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

How brand loyalty can be lost at the touch of a button

brand loyalty

Noreen Curtin, associate partner

Two equally poor recent retail experiences prompted me to pen this blog. I won’t name and shame the brands, but I felt both disappointed and frustrated with two high-end retailers that failed to deliver a streamlined and integrated shopping experience. The problem? Both were only too happy to let me place the orders online, but failed to fulfil the delivery of the items into my local outlets within the given time frame.

With customer engagement a key priority for all retailers and brand loyalty wavering due to the acceleration of today’s much savvier shopper, can UK retailers really afford to disappoint? In my opinion, most definitely not – particularly when today’s customer is only too keen to share disappointing experiences across public channels.

At a time when barely a week goes by without grim news from our high street, with titans such as Mothercare and House of Fraser announcing struggles, it is imperative that UK retailers invest in a truly integrated customer engagement programme.

Retail is no longer just about selling goods; it’s about creating and selling the experience of buying those products – and today’s consumer demands that experience is a good one.

Today, success means reaching a customer wherever they are, on any device, and both on and offline. Surely the most valuable customer to any retailer is the one that shops both in-store and on a device? It therefore follows that all experiences need to be seamless, consistent and entrenched with the retailer’s DNA.

Technology is often seen as the integral tool of choice for providing a better omnichannel experience for customers, creating a 360-degree, holistic approach that runs seamlessly from the first point of engagement across every channel, including the speedy fulfilment of ecommerce orders and a comprehensive aftercare service.

All retailers, including department stores, now realise that they must invest in their digital proposition to stay ahead, but this can’t be at the expense of neglecting the brand-customer relationship. It’s about looking at web traffic as the new footfall and giving customers the same quality of service online as you would in store. A streamlined user experience, personalisation of content and speedy fulfilment of orders all help create brand advocates and improve and maintain brand loyalty.

Traditionally, shopping was a personalised experience in bricks-and-mortar stores. Now, retailers are in an even stronger position – with the opportunity presented by data analytics and AI – to take even more personalised products and offers to consumers and tailor the experience. Brand loyalty is driven by emotion and therefore the more in-depth understanding a retailer can demonstrate through personalisation, the better.

The bottom line? All retailers need to invest in the technology to create true brand ambassadors who enjoy and ultimately share positive experiences, or risk being as popular as last season’s must-haves!

Follow Noreen on LinkedIn and Twitter for more insight into the retail and HR industries.

Or, if you’re into retail giants, you may want to read partner Nick Irving’s take on the Sainsbury’s / Asda merger.

The EMI Practice at Howgate Sable really took the time to understand our situation and find exceptional candidates who could fulfil challenging international leadership assignments for a truly global company with a history that spans well over 200 years.

It was a first class experience and positive outcome on many levels.


Barry McDonnell – Director of Manufacturing at De La Rue International

I have worked with the Howgate Sable team on several occasions whilst hiring mission-critical executives. Partnership is the byword for this organisation – they act as an extension of my team and work hard to support me not only in the technical solution, but in the sense of a deep understanding of my specific requirements. Delivery is the key measure of our talent partners and Howgate Sable have always achieved what was asked of them.

Jesper Berg – SVP HR, ABB

Having worked with Howgate Sable as a client and as a candidate I can confidently say their ability to deliver on complex searches is second to none. They not only have a detailed knowledge of the marketplace but also understand the importance of cultural fit. 

Bridget Lea – O2

I was particularly impressed with Howgate Sable’s knowledge and network in the aviation sector, the quality of the candidates provided at shortlist and the availability of Nick and the team to provide us with advice and guidance on candidates when required. Nick was particularly effective in understanding our needs as a Company and being flexible in adapting requirements and plans.

Paul Hutchings – Thomas Cook Group Airlines

I have recently worked with Nick from Howgate Sable to recruit a new Head of Aircraft Operations for Thomson Airways. I was particularly impressed by the wide-reaching search undertaken and the quality of the candidates put forward. The skills match to the brief was excellent and I am delighted with the individual we selected.

Dawn Wilson – Thomson Airways

From their initial call to me the Aviation practice team at Howgate Sable demonstrated a significant difference. Straightforward and to the point, the extent of their network and deep insight into the industry was immediately evident. The added value I have received as a candidate is tangible. An almost instant rapport quickly developed into a focused business relationship which is open, honest, respectful and above all trustworthy.

Carl Gissing