Any business with a loyalty program should be interested in what trends are currently emerging in customer loyalty.
Are you sending Push Notifications to customers who are one stamp away from redeeming rewards through your loyalty program?
Are you thinking outside the box to offer your customers innovative rewards that call out to them, or offering them variety in their rewards so they can customise your program to suit their own wants and needs?
Are you partnering up with other brands to offer your customers an experience, rather than a discount?
What about additional in-app promotions, like Scratch & Win cards, to offer alternative prizes and create a bit of buzz around your program?
These are the kinds of things that separate a simple “spend and get” model from a truly interactive and personalised loyalty program that makes each customer feel emotionally connected to your brand.
Here are the 7 biggest trends driving customer loyalty at the moment...
Integrating these trends into your loyalty program can boost customer retention and build brand loyalty for your business.
1. Mobile Optimization
By making your loyalty program an app that customers can have on their smartphones, you’re making it convenient, quick and easy for people to join your program, redeem rewards and communicate with your brand no matter where they are.
The benefits of a digital loyalty app are endless for both the customer and the business. Suddenly, you can send your customers Push notifications and trigger them at certain points.
For example, customers who are only one stamp away from redeeming a reward might appreciate a small reminder...
“Hi there, Sam. You’re just one stamp away from a free coffee. We hope to see you soon!”
Customers can engage with your brand any time of the day or night, wherever they are, at the click of a button. They don’t need to carry around plastic or paper cards that get lost at the bottom of a drawer in their bedside table, and you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars printing punch cards every few months.
Stamp Me offers businesses a convenient solution to providing their customers with a hassle-free loyalty program where they can redeem rewards, interact with the brand, and enjoy exclusive access to customizable campaigns and promotions.
2. QR Codes
You might have noticed those funny square-shaped barcodes popping up on just about everything from burger wrappers and coffee cups to giant billboards and even in YouTube videos.
QR Codes make it incredibly easy for consumers to follow links, check-in to places, and redeem rewards via their digital loyalty app.
For example, QuickStamps allows customers to quickly and conveniently sign up to the Stamp Me app, and begin redeeming rewards instantly.
For fast food restaurants and busy cafes where fast service is important, having a QuickStamp code on the packaging of the product allows customers to collect their “stamp” and redeem rewards later, rather than at the time of the transaction. It also sidesteps the dilemma of having food delivered by third-party companies like Deliveroo and UberEats.
If you’d like more information how to use QR codes with our digital loyalty app, please get in touch.
3. Innovative Rewards
Perhaps there are other rewards that will do more to keep customers coming back than the products or services that your business offers.
Your loyalty program’s rewards don’t necessarily need to be your own products and services; they just need to appeal to your customers and align with their wants and needs.
Gift vouchers can be an effective incentive for businesses with a wide customer base from various demographics. Incentives like tickets to football games, cinema vouchers and liquor store vouchers might do more to pique your customers’ interests and entice them to engage with your brand.
Stamp Me offers a Scratch & Win campaign as part of our digital loyalty app, which allows businesses to offer additional rewards and create a bit of fun around their marketing.
As the merchant, you have control over how many of these Scratch & Win deals are winners (win ratio), and what the prizes are… perhaps broader gift vouchers that cover entire shopping malls are the perfect giveaway to include in your Scratch & Win campaign to generate a bit of buzz around your loyalty program and encourage customers to sign up.
Services like Robo Voucher make the process of issuing and manaing vouchers incredibly easy and take away the stress of managing the logistics.
4. Personalized Customer Experiences
Give your customers an experience, not a discount. It’s become increasingly important to provide a seamless and rewarding interaction with your brand at every customer touchpoint.
This is also extends to how you choose to interact with your customers. The amount of customer service interactions that are taking place on Twitter have nearly tripled in the last couple of years alone, and the same study found that responding to a social media complaint can boost your customer advocacy by as much as 25 percent.
It’s never been easier for consumers to abandon a brand in place of one that they feel shares their values, making emotional connections more important than ever.
5. Omni-channel Customer Engagement
In a nutshell, “omnichannel” means engaging with your customers across multiple channels in a way that feels seamless and organic.
Furniture and housewares titan Crate & Barrel are a great example of omnichannel customer engagement done right.
They recognised that furniture isn’t a typical “buy in the spur of the moment” product – people generally take their time choosing furniture before committing to a purchase.
Customers browse Crate & Barrel’s product range online, rotating between laptops or desktops, mobile devices and tablets. Once the minds at Crate & Barrel caught onto this, they started offering users the option to create an account, so the website now saves customer data and viewing history, and brings that information up when the customer logs in on any device, making the shopping experience much smoother, more interactive and personal.
As a result, Crate & Barrel has enjoyed a 10 per cent rise in revenue via their online shop.
According to a study by Aberdeen Group, companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement strategies hold onto 89 percent of their existing customers, as opposed to a 33 percent retention rate for companies which are failing to embrace these strategies.
6. Brand Partnerships
Partnering up with a brand that can offer relevant rewards to your customers (and vice-versa) is a great strategy for extending your loyalty program beyond the reach of your own products and services.
2016 saw an explosion in brands partnering up for their loyalty programs, and the trend has continued to grow ever since.
J.D. Power System Global Practice Lead Rick Garlick said that points which can only be redeemed for hotel stays aren’t going to provide as much customer satisfaction as experiences like spa treatments, adventure sports, and other products and services travellers generally enjoy while on holiday.
“The more engagement you have in a program, the greater share of travellers’ wallets you will get,” he said. “Redeeming for nights versus retail or travel packages, options with variety will be the programs that represent a better value to customers, and they do drive better engagement.”
7. Corporate Social Responsibility
And last but certainly not least, the rising importance consumers place on a brand’s legal, ethical, social and ecological standards should not be understated.
Customers are increasingly passionate about choosing brands which they feel share their own personal values, and companies which fail to take Corporate Social Responsibility seriously risk alienating their customers.
81 per cent of millennials expect the brands they engage with to publicly exercise “good corporate citizenship”, and 66 per cent are willing to pay more to shop with brands that do so.
The knowledge that some of the proceeds from their purchases are going towards causes such as environmental sustainability, animal cruelty prevention services or providing aid to the citizens of developing countries, for example, reinforces to your existing customer base that they have made the right choice by being loyal to your brand.
As former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz put it, “If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
So there you have it. The above points are the biggest ongoing and emerging trends in customer loyalty right now, but as these trends develop and change, the best brands will stay on top of it and adjust their loyalty programs to stay at the forefront of the industry.
The common theme between all of these trends is that they strengthen the emotional connection and overall personal experience a consumer has with a brand, and those who can achieve this relationship with their customers have the key to customer retention and brand loyalty.
Stamp Me Loyalty Platform
Create memorable moments of joy with Stamp Me.
Stamp Me is a straightforward and intuitive loyalty platform trusted by merchants globally. We've blended the classic "Buy X, Get Y" loyalty cards with a modern mobile app to elevate customer loyalty experiences.