In the past, too much attention has been placed on transactional reward and not enough focus on building true shopper loyalty. This has created a loyalty gap.
What’s more, the growth of digital has drastically changed the loyalty landscape. Customer loyalty is now harder than ever to achieve, foster, maintain and even define.
The once great sense of ‘brand loyalty’ in retail has been diminished by the empowered digital savvy customer of today. Recent research from Accenture highlights how current consumer actions are resulting in a growing ‘switching economy’ with 60% of customers saying they are more likely to change brands than 10 years ago.
With the rise of the digital world, customers are now more connected and knowledgeable than ever before. They have the freedom to shift their allegiance in an instant. Armed to the teeth with price comparison websites, customer reviews, 24/7 media outlets reporting on the wrong-doings of brands and countless discount offers, it’s easier than ever for them to change.
The demands of the digital savvy customer have raised the bar of expectation when it comes to loyalty. Anything that fails to accommodate the speed and efficiency required for the multi-screen consumer is likely to see them move quickly on to a brand that can meet their ever evolving needs.
So how can retailers and businesses inspire loyalty when customers are sat behind a screen? How can you create an emotional connection with consumers in our increasingly automated world?
The seamless experience
Creating a seamless online/offline experience through identifying all customer touch-points is crucial. Understanding how customers use digital platforms can provide valuable insight and allow businesses to grasp when to engage customers through loyalty marketing campaigns and deliver a more personalised experience.
Building an emotional connection
Companies need to move away from traditional transactional loyalty and towards programmes that surprise and delight customers. Recent research from Vibes found that 77% of customers receiving rewards such as surprise points, exclusive content and special birthday messages, impacted ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ on their brand loyalty.
Personalisation sits at the heart of loyalty. A brand not offering a personalised service is likely to fall behind in the loyalty race. If you want to personalise you need to understand the data you have on your customers and use that to drive your engagement. This will make your content more relevant, more natural and more engaging.
The world of loyalty is transforming but brands can transform with it through building their marketing on connections, on experiences and on connecting people at an emotional level.
By Malcolm Fogarty, Global Digital Director, TCC Global
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