Loyalty programs have long been characterized by points, punch cards, generic discounts, and rewards based on spend. Although loyalty program membership is up, according got Retail TouchPoints, consumers overall engagement in traditional loyalty programs has declined consistently over the past four years. eMarketer also recently reported, that memberships in loyalty programs were expanding rapidly while active participation in programs was falling.
In its latest report, SessionM, a data management and real-time engagement platform, brings forth loyalty strategies for brands to implement in order to foster long lasting emotional connections with customers and increase revenue and lifetime value.
Mobile Is Key
Smartphones have not only made information more readily available on the go, but also eliminated the need for a lot of physical objects. Consumers are sure to have their mobile devices on them when they’re shopping in-store, and much less likely to still have that physical punch card they received in the mail eight years ago. Brands are under immense pressure to ‘be on mobile’ or succumb to the threat of being surpassed by the competition. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution for being successful on mobile.
Giving an example, SessionM states that ‘in a survey of over 8,000 quick service and fast casual restaurant diners, those that were members of at least one loyalty program (70 percent) identified free menu items, the ability to track rewards/ points, and personalized rewards as the top three program features. Unsurprisingly, these are all features that are easiest to be deployed via mobile. If you’re trying to make customers like your brand (and be more loyal), you have to cater the experience to their behavior.’
Offering a variety of options for consumers to earn and redeem points both increases redemption and creates a better brand experience with a wider audience. Giving an example of Sephora’s Beauty Insiders program, it mentions how the beauty company has created the Rewards Bazaar, an online portal to which new rewards are added every Tuesday and Thursday. Beauty Insiders can use their points to redeem one-of- a-kind experiences, personalized services, and coveted sample rewards.
Socialize And Gamify
Most loyalty programs reward their customers only for the amount of money they spend, which makes sense, but lacks originality. Brands need originality and creativity to stand out from the competition. In order to encourage more than just transactional behavior, brands must create additional opportunities for consumers to earn rewards, while maintaining focus and alignment on their business goals.
It is important to understand customers’ interests and lifestyles. Nailing that lifestyle piece often means going beyond your customers’ interactions with your brand in a vacuum, and thinking about those interactions with more context. This can be achieved with partners. Collaborating with another business to provide added value to loyalty program members is beneficial for all parties involved. Teaming up with a partner to add value, visibility, and additional touchpoints to the H.O.G. Program is another way in which Harley Davidson has excelled.