Traditional loyalty programs offer customers tangible benefits, such as a free item with purchase or a reward for returning visits, but there is a growing sense that it’s not really about loyalty anymore. In fact, according to Concentrix Catalyst, even with a superior product, brands that rely on traditional consumer loyalty programs can lose to competitors who create a superior experience.
Sheila Stoneham, CEO and founder of Canadian-based Power Wearhouse, a health and fitness business, says, “personalization today is the new loyalty.” On a recent Strategy for Breakfast podcast here at GDS, Stoneham argues that the modern consumer expects brands to provide tailored products and services—how they want it, when, and where they want it—and they are willing and ready to switch to brands that best serve these demands. And driving the change? Millennials.
The millennial factor
Stoneham says millennials want authenticity, not a manufactured message. They reward those retailers that give them an experience that demonstrates they know them and care about them, and that they are giving something relevant in return for their business. According to Stoneham, “millennials are used to giving up data and information about themselves, but they don’t do so without a price.” That’s exactly where omnichannel loyalty programs come in.
Omnichannel loyalty programs
According to e-commerce solution Magestore, omnichannel loyalty programs focus on the best shopping experience across all channels. This means delivering a meaningful engagement through each touchpoint, from website to offline stores. Customers engage with the brand on a variety of platforms, devices, and channels, and they expect each one of them to work together seamlessly.
Loyalty no longer stands alone but integrates with customer experience. Today’s consumers are value seekers and more discerning. It is a challenge, but an opportunity to reimagine loyalty strategy and rethink the brand’s boundaries. Technology plays a big role in getting there.
Technology for seamless customer engagement
Omnichannel loyalty programs offer various ways to engage customers, allowing them to swipe and scan their apps for rewards – all while increasing brand loyalty and boosting sales. Some of the technologies used to engage customers include:
- Chip-based smart cards
- Facial and voice recognition biometrics
- Wireless e-tags
- PSA’s (Personal Shopping Assistants)
Data-driven insights to make smarter decisions
Beyond increasing customer affinity for the brand, omnichannel loyalty programs carry another huge benefit: data-driven insights. According to Magestore, despite various gates to reach customers, retailers can store all the information about their customers in a centralized system. This way, brands can analyze their way to success.
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