Companies in every industry are utilizing customer loyalty solutions more often than ever before. Brands understand the importance of retaining existing customers and are choosing to implement a system directed specifically at building customer loyalty. Some marketers may think of loyalty programs and initially imagine a substantial portion of existing resources being funneled away into a program that doesn’t deliver ROI.
However pursuing new customers is the true cost burden; a February 2018 article in Forbes asserts that keeping an existing customer is 5 times less expensive than acquiring a new one and increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25%-95%.
Because marketers recognize that no two customers are the same, it’s clear that loyalty needs to be delivered strategically. One-off mass promotions that miss the mark for 80 percent of a brand’s customers are no longer efficient or cost-effective in an environment where consumers are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 brand messages every day.
Organizations need the ability to identify every individual that interacts with their brand with a data driven platform that provides a 360-degree single customer view, appeal to those specific needs and preferences, and build a level of trust that creates a 1:1 connection.
How Loyalty Programs Drive Customer Engagement
Customizable loyalty programs provide brands the ability to incentivize customers to make return visits, to purchase more, and refer others. Loyalty programs also offer brands a way to deliver personalized offers and promotions relevant to their members’ preferences. With a loyalty program empowered by FiO’s Customer Loyalty Platform, brands can also drive true omnichannel engagement.
Customer interactions continue to expand beyond just visits and into many digital spaces, meaning loyalty now happens across a range of touch points. Driving customer engagement today can take many transactional and non-transactional forms including: sentiment surveys, gamification, social feedback, referrals, etc., which are valuable components to modern loyalty programs.
The spring of 2020 also highlighted the importance for organizations to identify their customers and have the means to communicate with them digitally. The pandemic has created new circumstances and changes to daily operations for many businesses. Brands need the ability to message customers on a digital channel and in an appropriate tone about new procedures, updated business hours, temporary closures, and relevant or redesigned offers, as face-to-faces visits continue to belimited.
The best customer loyalty programs have responded to these new market conditions and look to develop customer relationships through omnichannel communications and relevant incentives designed to create and optimize a variety of interactions. With the right strategy, brands can quickly and easily gain knowledge of the tools and the system to successfully promote their loyalty platform to all stakeholders.
The value of building a loyal following provides brands with multiple benefits that can extend their reach and differentiate them in the marketplace.
Benefit #1: Loyalty Programs Keep Customers Happy
The simple fact is that every company wants people to purchase their products or services. A loyalty program helps you reach customers through 1:1 connections based on real-time data to deliver relevant offers over the channels they prefer and at the times they need them.
Loyalty programs that also offer added benefits like gamification strategies that provide innovative and fun ways to drive engagement create the additional incentive of having customers interact with your brand for pleasure as well as for savings. Customers are incentivized and rewarded for taking specific and/or multiple actions and developing new habits through contests, challenges, badges, and sweepstakes, the most important of these new habits being continually checking in with and being exposed to your brand.
Benefit #2: Loyalty Programs Drive Growth
A loyalty solution provides marketers with program tools such as omnichannel marketing and email signups that drive acquisitions, while providing every kind of customer a tailored program designed with relevant ways to earn and redeem points. Ongoing loyalty campaigns and offers also deliver valuable same store sales to help storefronts as well as eCommerce, and brand profitability.
Your eCommerce platform should offer personalization tools that bolster customer loyalty, to enable you to tailor your customers’ experiences. If it doesn’t, then it’s time to begin considering a re-platform. FiO’s Customer Loyalty Platform does exactly that. By providing both the data-driven power and capacity needed to give you a single 360-degree view of each customer, you’re able to create deep personalization that will keep you competitive in 2022 and beyond.
Benefit #3: Loyalty Programs Provide Customer Data
A loyalty program provides customers with an opportunity to receive rewards in return for providing data to the companies. This allows brands to obtain layers of data that have been inaccessible until now, like first and even zero party data, which allowsbrands to learn information about customers such as where they are coming from, how frequently they visit your website, and which items they have browsed. By using loyalty program data for customer characteristics, demographics, buying patterns, and pain points, you will be able to personalize your offers better and use the most effective language and incentives that would attract customers.
Benefit #4: Loyalty Programs Help You Learn Your Customers Behaviors
Loyalty programs provide brands the ability to recognize unique individuals through the layering of the data that starts with initial email and WiFi signups. Then a brand can begin to learn about their customers’ behaviors and preferences as they move across different devices, channels, and platforms in your omnichannel ecosystem. Understanding a customer’s history with your brand unlocks key insights that help you maximize value and return on marketing spend through the delivery of a consistent, seamless personalized experience.
Benefit #5: Loyalty Programs Give You Valuable Customer Feedback
Loyalty is a two-way street. Brands that leverage social listening tools can engage with customers when there is an issue and provide a resolution, help answer a question or provide thanks for a positive review. Additionally, customers can be encouraged to login, provide experience ratings,and submit feedback the organization can proactively address. Customer sentiment tracking and using sentiment analytics tools can also help brands see the total value they’re delivering to customers both in-store and online.
Benefit #6: Loyalty Programs Boost Referrals
Marketers can create campaigns that engage customers and make it easy for them to earn points or an exclusive offer by referring friends to join the loyalty program via their social media networks using their mobile app or their website. This is an inexpensive way for brands to acquire new customers and retain existing ones.
Benefit #7: Loyalty Programs Increase Your Digital Presence
Modern loyalty programs are designed for mobile customer engagement. Most reward programs today via a mobile loyalty app for ease and convenience. Brands are engaging customers with campaigns and offers through email and SMS. And during this dynamic environment, digital communication is often the most reliable method many brands have for providing updates, operational changes, and offers to keep customers engaged with them during months of changing mandates. Many companies also have added contactless options such as online ordering, curbside pick-up, and deliveries that are now becoming part of the standard digital business model.