We would love to be able to claim that we planned our annual “loyalty” issue to coincide with our annual Hub Prize competition, but, in truth, it’s just a happy coincidence.
The pairing is so serendipitous because the Hub Prize honors excellence in the retail experience, which truly is a pivot point of building and sustaining customer loyalty.
Think about the brands that enjoy the most intense loyalty today — Apple, Whole Foods, Amazon, JetBlue, for example. They each provide a stellar retail experience, be it online, in-store or, in JetBlue’s case, inflight.
True, a great product is equally critical to brand loyalty. But absent a great retail experience, even insanely great products will lose their fans. And let’s face it: Without loyalty, a brand isn’t a brand.
This year’s Hub Prize winners demonstrate that no idea at retail is too big — or small — to make a difference. Our honorees are as ambitious as a reinvention of the drug-store experience and as simple as a free pair of eyeglasses. They range from displays to shopper-marketing programs to apps. They all help make everyday life better, and create loyalty.
This year’s top winner, and the recipient of the rare and coveted Hub Cup, came to us all the way from India. The “Colour” store takes shoppers on a dazzling, high-tech, high-touch, retail excursion that affirms their home decorating choices — and sells lots of paint without actually selling any paint (PDF).
Other prize-winning work (12 Gold, 12 Silver, and 12 Bronze) is also featured in this issue. Congratulations to all our winners, and to all those devoted to the power of the retail experience to create loyalty and build brands.