5 Must-Haves for Managing Loyalty in a Digital World

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by Lisa Cramer

75% of loyalty programs fail in the first 2 years, according to a recent study by Capgemini Consulting.

Explosive digital growth continues to widen this gap, despite increased spending on loyalty programs year-over-year. So what can you do? How can you gain some traction and optimize your loyalty efforts for the digital world that surrounds it?

Here are 5 must-have tactics for managing loyalty in a digital world…

  1. Stop focusing on the transaction and ignoring the behavior
  2. This cartoon by Tom Fishburne just about sums this one up.

    Tom Fishburne Customer Map Cartoon

  3. Recognize how loyalty plays in an omnichannel world
  4. You know it’s important that your messaging is consistent across channels, but what about your loyalty efforts? Do they behave consistently across these channels as well? Can I earn and redeem points online, on app and in-store? Do I receive personalized offers and messages in all these places as well? If not, you are missing out on critical opportunities to connect with your consumers collect more data.

  5. Don’t focus on the “bright and shiny”
  6. It’s natural to gravitate towards all the buzz, but “bright and shiny” can be a dangerous approach to winning loyalty. Flashy apps and new platforms can deliver a cool, but momentary, experience and lead you into a false sense of security. That’s how you’ll end up with several different mobile apps, and a series of poor-performing investments that really do little to bring value to the consumer or improve their experience. Ideally, you should start by mapping out your customer journey and all your touchpoints, then identify the gaps in your customer experience and your competitors’ experiences to determine where you can be most helpful to shoppers and bring them the most value—outside of just more coupons.

  7. Move away from a one-size-fits all program
  8. Some consumers buy from you every day. Some consumers are your biggest advocates—always leaving you reviews and sharing positive things on social. Some customers check-in frequently, always engaging with your latest marketing campaigns or promotions or stopping by for a visit online or in-store. All are valuable. It’s important to stratify rewards and recognize loyalty in whatever form it exists. Your goal should be to align the right investment with the right consumer—whether it’s a freebie, an exclusive invite to try a new product, or an in-store event to get free tips from an expert in-person. This will allow you to deliver hyper-targeted experiences and messages and build relationships with consumers rather than just create a coupon stop.

  9. Go where your consumers go
  10. Where are your consumers right now? Are they at a subway station waiting on a train? The airport waiting on a flight? What’s their typical routine like? How could you better position your products based on these things? Whether it’s local information such as inventory and pricing via mobile, virtual 2D storefronts or kiosks for product ordering or personalized mobile offers or reminders via geo-location—how can you meet consumers half way so you can get in front of them with value before the competitive clutter?

    U.S. shoppers are still signing up for loyalty programs in droves—memberships actually topped 3 billion in 2015. That’s a 26% increase since 2013 (Colloquy). So there’s definitely still a great opportunity here. However, most loyalty programs are missing the mark. It’s time to rethink loyalty efforts, and use them to build individual relationships rather than create hoards of discount junkies up for grabs at any moment to a better deal.

    Copyright: macniak / 123RF Stock Photo

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