Loyalty programs come and go, but keeping your eyes peeled for trends ensure you don’t end up a nobody in the whole customer loyalty landscape. Here are four loyalty program trends rocking 2019!
Loyalty programs are no longer just complementary strategies in the overall sales and marketing journey; now, it’s an independent strategy that has taken a life of its own beyond its point of origin. As we roll towards the latter half of 2019, we take a look at four loyalty program trends that is currently driving the whole customer loyalty landscape!
Enhanced membership tiers
To keep customers engaged in your program, it’s important that they see and experience something they could still be excited about. It’s one thing to establish value over time, but another to keep this value relevant to their changing needs and expectations. One of the reasons why Sephora’s Beauty Insider is still a loyalty program behemoth is because it’s continuously evolving. A Bond report by Visa additionally says that at least 37% of consumers are willing to pay more for an updated version or a higher tier of a customer loyalty program. This doesn’t just mean an update on the existing features, but an actual system overhaul that changes your program to a tiered system (if it’s not one already). And yes, it may seem daunting at first or even costly. However, believe us when we say that customers get really competitive in tiered systems—enough for them to even change their purchasing behaviour just to get ahead of the competition. Suffice to say, they spend more and spend aggressively to achieve a higher status that gives them improved perks and benefits! Varying statuses or levels encourage customers to spend more as they hanker for a promise of more exclusive benefits.
Mobile-friendliness or Mobile-optimisation
This wouldn’t come as a surprise, but customers love loyalty programs they could access easily. People spend more time on their mobile devices, so you’d have a good chance of keeping them engaged if you’re there, too. This means creating loyalty program apps or making your rewards system mobile-optimised. Websites are often utilised by many brands as a way to display the rewards that members accumulate, or even as a way to cash these rewards out. However, this may be frustrating for some who doesn’t appreciate logging into a website, especially if they expect to be catered on their mobiles instead. As a way to counter possible frustration a customer may have (which may even lead to higher customer churn rates), brands should turn to mobile. There is so much to be said about Starbucks’s winning loyalty program, but for one, it’s mobile app is really feature-rich. It provides a user-friendly experience and even allows users to order and pay through their mobile devices. Starbucks made their loyalty app the “core” of their digital ecosystem, creating a convenient channel that made them the most regularly used loyalty rewards app in 2018.
Remember when we said that some customers can become frustrated with the fact that some loyalty programs are not easily accessed? Well aside from creating a mobile app, some brands try omni-channel integration. It’s a multi-channel sales approach that provides a seamless customer experience for customers. An interview with digital marketing experts late last year by Matthijs Wolff, an international marketing and sales specialist, revealed that an integration of the omni-channel approach in loyalty programs is going to come in hot in 2019. According to them, loyalty is no longer just an extension of the customer journey, but a full, integral part of it. The existing barrier between online shopping and physical retail is “fading away”, and that to address how this will affect overall market consumption, brands should come together in their loyalty environment. This can mean adding a mobile feature, a loyalty card, or working with other brands to offer a grander, wider customer journey. The end goal is to emphasise the visibility of your loyalty program through the whole customer journey.
Pretty sure by now upgrading your loyalty system is your priority to drive loyalty and eventually the growth of your customer base. A loyal shopper spend more and are likely to return for repeat purchases. But nowadays, shoppers—even the most loyal ones—expect to be recognised for these purchases. Personalisation is especially big in customer loyalty programs, as tailoring features can make customers feel appreciated and valued. Remember, this is indeed a journey; and as with other journeys, your customers would appreciate a heightened awareness of their value. It can be as simple as addressing them by name or as big as utilising their purchasing data to recommend other products.
As the marketplace progresses, so does consumer expectations. What worked before may not work now, so it’s crucial for marketers to always open their eyes to exciting trends shaping the whole consumer journey. This year is about heightened interest in personalisation, a focus on omni-channel integration for greater cohesion, mobile-optimisation, and the enhancement of loyalty program tiers.