As brands struggle to differentiate their programs from others, "loyalty" as a retention strategy quickly becomes a glorified engagement and discounting program. This obviously cuts into margins and chips away at the consumers' trust of the brand.
There are arguments on both sides of choosing between coalition and proprietary loyalty programs. Ultimately, the type of program you choose for your brand is a business decision that needs to meet your goals and align with brand values. Here is a quick list to help you weigh the options.
Data-driven marketing and loyalty analytics company Aimia Inc. (TSX: AIM) today announced that it has been named Loyalty Programme of the Year at the sixth edition of The Loyalty & Engagement Awards 2018, held in Singapore last Friday.
The Loyalty & Engagement Awards, organised by Marketing in 2013, honours the best loyalty marketing and engagement strategies in Asia Pacific. The show is the first of its kind to recognise marketing works in three key areas – loyalty, engagement and relationship marketing, focusing solely on the art of cultivating customer loyalty and engagement.
Following the success of their 2017 Bronze award for ‘Best Loyalty Program – Retailer’ category, Aimia has achieved even greater heights by clinching Loyalty Programme of the Year for PT Mitra Adiperkasa (MAP Group). This award was the top prize of the night and recognizes the loyalty programme that most successfully added value to its members, customers and partners which encouraged and achieved loyal behavior.
It’s strange how the world is abuzz with ecommerce, yet it only represented 13% of retail sales in 2017 in the United States (Internet Retailer). This shows there is still demand for physical presence in the retail space – shown clearly by brands such as Warby Parker and Rent the Runway, both having debuted as online-only brands only to add physical stores to their business plans later. With all the convenience that ecommerce brings to the consumer, physical retail still holds the ultimate opportunity for immediate gratification and that touch-and-feel opportunity. It can be argued that the brands surviving the “Retail Armageddon” are integrating their physical presence with digital. And those brands doing it best are finding their niche of the expansive customer experience, a draw known as retailtainment.
Retail is one of the industries most affected by the influx of technology, changing consumer behaviors, and enhanced customer expectations. Looking toward retail’s future, we compiled some key steps to staying on top of changing trends in the industry.
We’ve all seen the clickbait headlines spouting the end of physical retail as we know it, scaremongering that future competition will come from anywhere and everywhere. And it’s true, many of the big retail brands we’ve hung our hats on for the past few decades are considered to be in a vulnerable mature growth phase. However, with the rising trends in retail, there’s an opportunity for creative marketers to redefine their approach to retention and engagement to grow their customers.
Since the turn of the century, the age of information has seen masses of data dumped into disconnected silos across many retail organizations. Limited access, capability, focus and free time has meant that until very recently we were only able to skim stones across the surface of this pool of potentially rich insight. However, where once IT systems creaked to breaking point whenever a non-batch data request was made, the digital transformation of customer data management is now enabling the development of inter-connected information ecosystems and finally rich customer insight. With loyalty programs in which customers self-identify, retailers can connect disparate pieces of data across multiple silos and touchpoints to build a complete picture of their customers – what we call the Golden Profile. With this Profile, retailers create relevant messaging to reach their consumers in a meaningful, impactful way.
When a business realizes the extent to which they can engage and grow their customers through a strong loyalty initiative, it’s tempting for them to consider building the program in-house. Often, it’s the desire to completely customize their program and have total control over this martech that leads them to believe it will be better to build their own platform. However, these companies may not know the extent of ongoing costs to running their own technology, not to mention the opportunity costs of time, talent, and the expertise they would have access to with a global provider, to continually evolve their program to reflect their growing customer needs.
Take a moment to think about your most fulfilling relationship. Now, think about the qualities that make that relationship successful. I’m willing to bet that one of the qualities that makes that relationship so successful is each person’s willingness to listen. In this relationship-era where brands are looking to build authentic and long-lasting connections with consumers, it is imperative that they first… listen.
People think of personalization in many ways. Some, very simplistically: a first name on an email. Others, view it as much more: providing personalized experiences based on a holistic view of the customer. As companies continue to gather more data across more touchpoints, customers’ expectations are rising. They expect relevant, real-time, right-time, individualized communications. In order to deliver on these expectations, companies must begin by thinking strategically about their organizational structure as it relates to loyalty.