Today’s omnichannel shopping world is a disloyal one, making it a hostile environment when it comes to nurturing loyalty amongst consumers.

Used to being able to get what they want, when they want and how they want it, customer expectations have never been higher, meaning shoppers will vote with their feet (and their wallets) if their expectations are not met. Competition is rife – in fact, your competitors have never been closer – with the rise of ecommerce, they are merely a click away. And, with TechCrunch reporting that 80% of adults in the developed world now own a smart phone, it’s even easier for shoppers to compare offers – and go elsewhere.

Although many brands and retailers have taken huge strides towards optimising their appearance and sales channels for omnichannel retail, when it comes to customer retention, their strategies are still behind the curve.

In this article, I outline three ways brands and retailers can nurture customer loyalty, boost customer retention and, ultimately, drive sales.

Loyalty in 360 degrees

One of the big disconnects in retailer/customer relationships right now is the experiential role of mobile. While most businesses have made their websites and content mobile-friendly, the same cannot be said of their loyalty schemes. Mobile’s influence - not just on retail, but on all daily activities - is only going to increase, and building a mobile-first loyalty scheme could prove critical to brand’s retention strategies.

By channelling offers, managing points and posting communications through an application, companies have the opportunity to make value-added interactions central to shoppers’ favourite device. Very soon, consumers are going to demand that mobile drives the majority of their digital transactions, and is the main transactional device in their physical retail experiences too. Early adopters of mobile loyalty will be able to overcome any teething problems in this current, educational phase, ensuring that they have a market-leading loyalty scheme when mobile-first becomes a must.

Location, location, location

Retailers should also consider how to be more innovative with their loyalty schemes to appeal to today’s technology-driven shoppers. Loyalty features like using Apple Passbook or Android Passes, for example, tap into the growing trend for mobile interactions to target customers wherever they are.

By geo-locating customers, offers can be triggered based on a shopper’s location, adding an impulse element to reward redemption and acting as a timely reminder for customers, putting you front of mind at the opportune moment. Stored on an iPhone or Android Device, these digital passes send an automatic notification which can be viewed even on a ‘locked’ screen.

The personal touch

With 8 million UK consumers saying that they use loyalty cards less frequently now than a year ago, retailers need to differentiate themselves when it comes to rewarding – and securing – repeat custom.

To do this, they should move away from engaging customers via monetary features alone. By adopting a more experiential approach, businesses can drive more meaningful, customised experiences and extend beyond the discount mentality.

So, by adopting a mobile first strategy to loyalty, combined with developing more personalised offers and experiential incentives, brands and retailers can overcome the omnichannel challenges of loyalty, nurturing and retaining more customers.

 

By Richard Kolodynski, Senior Vice President of European Operations at iVend Retail (part of Citixsys). 


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