As the world around us continues to change, and customers’ wants and desires are ever-evolving, businesses must continue to be responsive. At the end of the day, loyalty is what keeps customers coming back and forming long-serving emotional relationships with a brand. Without customer loyalty, businesses simply fail.
Now more than ever, holding onto a customer’s loyalty is crucial. Consumers are re-evaluating what’s important, and businesses need to ensure they are still meeting the needs of their target audience.
The most effective way to do this is to analyze the customer experience that your brand currently provides, and perhaps update it to reflect the times. So without further ado, here are some key customer loyalty trends that are emerging in 2022 and shaping future years as well.
1. Customers want: AUTHENTICITY
There’s no denying it – COVID-19 has forced consumers to become a little more wary of what they spend their money on, and how they spend their money in general. This has had a dramatic impact on consumer behavior, and consequently, brand loyalty.
The prerequisites for a customer’s loyalty have never been higher, and trust is a crucial component of the brand-customer relationship. To maintain customer retention rates, businesses need to consider new ways in which they can demonstrate their authenticity.
Did you know that about two-thirds (64%) of consumers expect the brands they shop with to take a stronger stance on matters that they deem to be important?
2. Customers want: DIVERSE REWARDS
When it comes to loyalty programs, we’re long past the days where discounts and the occasional freebie are enough to satisfy the average customer. These days, rewards need to be exciting, varied, experiential, and deliver some form of “social currency”.
Example? Vans Family. The global skate shoe brand has managed to successfully convey its core values and engage customers in a community at the same time, with its hugely popular loyalty program.
In addition to standard loyalty points to reduce the price of future purchases, other rewards include exclusive access to the latest designs, VIP tickets to industry events and other exciting perks that vary in nature and offer a more wholesome brand experience.
3. Customers want: PERSONALIZED EXPERIENCES
What do your customers really want, on an individual level? According to 2022 customer loyalty trends, they expect you to know the answer – so you better figure it out!
Personalization is not a secret industry concept that the average consumer isn’t aware of – customers know that brands track their data and use it to recommend products or adjust their brand experience to better cater for their needs. So given that this is the case, the onus is on the company to get it right. Failure to truly understand your audience and the factors that drive their purchasing decisions will result in low customer retention and decreased brand loyalty.
Regardless of whether someone is shopping in your brick-and-mortar store, engaging with customer support online or interacting with your digital loyalty app on their mobile device; they expect a highly personalized experience.
If you need help honing this craft, there are plenty of reliable analytics platforms out there to help you capture essential data from your consumers and deliver actionable insights into customer sentiment.
4. Customers want: DIGITAL ACCESS
The pandemic might have pushed this trend along a little, but the reality is that customer loyalty was already rapidly transforming into a digital experience. In 2022, it’s safe to assume that most interactions customers have with your brand are going to be via their computers, smart TV’s, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
This means you need to ramp things up on the omnichannel front – can a customer ask for support via your company’s social media instant messaging, and then resume the interaction on a different device once they get to work? How about when they get home at the end of the day – will the information on their mobile app be updated based on the day’s earlier interaction?
The most apparent 2022 customer loyalty trend of all is in consumers’ desire for more innovative technology; be it virtual assistants, chatbots, augmented reality, geolocation technology or any of the other game-changing innovations that are emerging.
To expand on the augmented reality example, how many home furniture brands are scrambling to implement this technology now that IKEA’s website lets you take photographs of your living space, upload them onto the site and “try on for size” various furniture items to see how they’ll look once you physically get them home?
As for geolocation, what better way to leverage the “convenience” factor among your highest-spending customers who just happen to be passing by one of your stores with some time to kill? This level of personalization helps to establish an emotional connection with your brand, which is more important than ever in 2022.
Loyalty is still key, so use your loyalty program wisely
If there’s anything to gather from these 2022 customer loyalty trends, it’s that loyalty is getting more difficult to acquire and hold onto. But with a well-structured digital rewards app, you can exceed your customers’ expectations in all of the elements listed in this article.