What is Contactless Loyalty, and Why is it Important?
November 16, 2020
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This year has seen many businesses educating themselves on what contactless loyalty is, and why it is important.
In essence, contactless loyalty is the fine art of establishing and maintaining emotional connections between your customers and your brand, without contact. And when I say “without contact”, I mean no touch screens, no card readers, no paper receipts and of course, no cash.
Why is contactless loyalty important?
It goes without saying that 2020 has demanded a strong shift towards contactless interactions of all kinds, and by extension, customer loyalty has had to shift as well.
This year, contactless loyalty has become a crucial component of the customer experience in industries from retail and hospitality to tech, finance and tourism.
While contactless transactions are easy to facilitate, and standard loyalty initiatives are simple enough to introduce (when you have the right tools); contactless loyalty is a bit trickier.
After all, how do you provide customers with an intimate brand experience when you can’t physically interact with them as a business?
…Glad you asked!
First of all, transitioning to contactless loyalty is not all about technology. Nor does it exclusively mean online shopping and home deliveries.
A recent Shekel study revealed that nearly 87% of consumers still prefer to shop in-store, provided it is an entirely contactless experience. In a period when people are spending so much time at home, it makes sense that we would be eager to get outside and shop in-person, where possible.
So rather than over-correcting by shifting your CX focus entirely to digital and ecommerce, the trick is to find a balance between digital and in-person that provides customers with a seamless, convenient and enjoyable brand experience.
How to implement contactless loyalty for your business
When considering your loyalty marketing strategies, the customer experience can be broken down into three phases: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. This is true whether you are:
Rewarding customers for referrals
Leveraging “surprise and delight” with a gamified Scratch & Win offer
Enticing lapsed customers back with an engaging abandoned cart email campaign
All of the above and more…
So, to integrate contactless loyalty techniques into your business model effectively, it’s best to consider the customer’s journey through a transaction with your brand.
With online resources and nifty mobile apps, you can invite customers to book appointments to visit your store. Not only does this help to mould the customer’s expectations favourably before their in-store experience, but it allows your business to streamline in-store operations as efficiently as possible.
If a pre-booked appointment system doesn’t work for your particular business, then you can still facilitate a positive customer experience through clear communications about:
Store opening hours (as and when they change, which is common at the moment)
In-house health and safety procedures
Customers’ various options for shopping with your brand; from curbside pick-up to home delivery, to in-store shopping and so on
This message can be conveyed via social media, email marketing and via the website.
More information equals greater peace of mind, and trust leads to loyalty. Without turning your website into a baffling mass of overwhelming information, it should tell the customer everything they need to know about your post-COVID shopping procedures.
Assuming that a customer who visits your brick-and-mortar store is committed to purchasing something, the transaction phase begins here.
Mobile check-in via digital app streamlines Track & Trace processes, while also facilitating mobile payment for the customer’s selected products. By offering customers a mobile app, they don’t necessarily even need to physically enter the store, as this system caters for curbside pick-up.Sanitizing stations, partitions, social distancing markers and signage help keep everyone safe in-store, and offer assurance that your business is taking appropriate measures to do so.
In regards to stock, it’s a good idea to remove excess items from the shop floor to allow more space. Slower-selling products only need one on display; the rest can be lined up in the stock room, for example.
Automated email receipts are easy to implement, and this paves the way for post-purchase email marketing – How was your in-store experience? Are you happy with your purchase? Here are some other items you might like. Here is an exclusive offer specially for you…
Case in point: US retailer Kroger
When it comes to offering a contactless shopping and loyalty experience that is as seamless as it is convenient, Kroger takes the cake with Kroger Pay. Not only does this new innovation allow in-store customers to pay for their shopping through the app at check-out, but it’s linked to Kroger REWARDS. Customers enjoy fuel points and 2% cashback on selected products.
These ideas barely scratch the surface of what is possible with contactless loyalty, but hopefully they serve as an indication of what contactless loyalty is, and why it is important.
Digital loyalty apps make contactless loyalty a breeze
Notice how a digital loyalty app can make it drastically easier to incorporate contactless loyalty into your brand’s customer experience?
Whereas digital loyalty apps were originally intended as virtual replacements for that huge stack of unused paper punch cards sitting in your desk drawer at home; they have since evolved into highly sophisticated rewards platforms that help businesses to better understand their customers and target their marketing.
This year, digital loyalty apps have become even more useful, as they provide businesses of all shapes and sizes with a cheap, easy and straightforward way to introduce contactless loyalty.
By offering your customers a digital loyalty app, you offer them a way to:
Browse your product range remotely and on-the-go
Pay in advance, and opt for in-store pickup, curbside pickup or home delivery
Accrue loyalty points and redeem rewards for repeat transactions, whether they choose to shop with you online or in-person
Safely and securely store digital receipts for all previous purchases
Engage with your brand anytime, anywhere, via their mobile device
Countless other perks and benefits
The key objectives to keep in mind when implementing contactless loyalty
Obviously, the primary goal is to continue providing customers with an exceptional brand experience, but with little to no contact.
A well-structured digital loyalty program is the best tool at your disposal for facilitating this process. Why? Because it allows you to seamlessly integrate contactless procedures like mobile check-in, in-app payment and email receipts with loyalty points, VIP perks and experiential rewards for an enhanced customer experience.
By weaving brand loyalty into the very fabric of your contactless shopping experience, you can retain more customers and strengthen their emotional connection to your brand.