The world economy witnessed a dizzying pace of change during the first six months from 2019. The creativity and technology disruption may continue during the remaining months. Here’re the customer loyalty trends to watch out for during the year ahead.
1. Emotion-Driven Economy
Believe it or not, emotions can help in increasing the brand’s profitability, efficiency, and get the best out of the growth opportunities.
Connecting emotionally with the target audience can help in influencing their buying decisions, retention rates, and enhancing the overall brand experience. It can also contribute to sales by converting satisfied consumers into brand advocates.
Thus, during the coming months, companies would consider using big-data for predicting what consumers think, feel about their products, and design customer loyalty strategies accordingly.
Companies would also adapt customer loyalty program platforms (software) to ensure buyers feel valued. Such AI, ML-driven software solutions help in creating personalized rewards programs by gauging customer spending. They can help in improving email communication and increasing user engagement percentage.
2. Customers Would Show Interest In Recommending Brands That Offer A Good Loyalty Program
Consumers start considering themselves a part of a group or community due to loyalty programs. They often feel lucky to have access to information that others do not. Some even brag about the unique details that they can view due to the loyalty program. Such consumers would go the extra mile to recommend the brand to others as well.
Something as simple as the free two-day shipping service offered to Prime members by Amazon makes consumers feel excited and share their experience with others. Perhaps, this is the simplest example to elaborate on how loyalty programs can improve customer satisfaction. Such programs can help in retaining loyal customers and get positive reviews as well as customer referrals.
3. Customer Advocacy Would Continue To Be Rewarded
Offering rewards to customers for purchasing products has been traditionally a part of loyalty programs. However, these days, several brands are rewarding customer advocacy as well. Prizes are offered in exchange for sharing posts about products on social networking sites, referring friends, and creating content about the brand.
It is obvious; customers have a better ability to influence others using their profiles on social networking sites. Companies, on the other hand, can use advanced tools to monitor advocacy actions and reward users according to their efforts.
Companies are expected to continue with customer advocacy loyalty programs as the cost for running them is lesser compared to spending on other consumer acquisition campaigns.
4. Wi-fi Loyalty Programs Are Set To Expand
A few years back, Subway introduced its Wi-Fi-enabled loyalty program in selected countries around the world. The food giant started offering a free sandwich coupon to consumers who sign-in into the store’s Wi-Fi after completing registration. The program attracted hundreds of individuals who registered, signed-in for a coupon to use the free Wi-Fi and turned into loyal customers.
Apps launched by top brands and retailers often fail to enter the list of top ten most downloaded applications. Smartphone users prefer to keep the precious phone memory for pictures and games instead of crowing the same with unnecessary apps that they hardly use. Thus, rather than integrating loyalty schemes exclusively with apps, companies with store-fronts are more inclined towards engaging customers with Wi-Fi. It enables them to use the customer’s profile for sending targeted content and personalized loyalty programs.
5. Combination Of Online And Offline Technologies For Offering An Excellent Shopping Experience
Several e-commerce giants have invested in physical retail during the last two years. One might wonder, why? Well, that’s because brands are setting their omnichannel strategy in place.
Omni-channel involves offering an online and offline experience to customers while selling certain products.
Some items, especially, furniture and high-end electronic devices, cannot be purchased in the spur of the moment. Consumers may need time and would wish to take a look at the actual product before buying the same.
With brands that offer omnichannel experience, customers can browse products using their tablets, smartphones, laptops, desktop (websites) and even visit the brand’s brick and mortar store. On the other hand, brands can create a detailed customer profile based on viewing history, past purchases, and consumer data collected at a brick and mortar store. It helps in offering personal, interactive, and smoother shopping experience as a part of the loyalty program later.
Studies have also pointed out that an omnichannel strategy can help companies maintain a better customer retention rate.
6. Offering Rewards In The Form Of Products That Consumers Want
Consumers are empowered and well-informed due to the enormous amount of information at the disposal. Loyalty marketers do understand this phenomenon, and they would continue changing their approach, budget with time.
Offering rewards on purchases can convince at least some customers to come back for more. Thus, to ensure the products offered as part of a loyalty program to align with consumer’s needs, companies have started looking beyond the list of their products or services and joined hands with others.
Incentives in the form of cinema tickets, entry passes for football matches as well as music concerts, vouchers for liquor store, and scratch to win cashback offers are used by businesses around the world to woo a broad consumer base. The trend is set to continue during the second half of the year.
7. Use Of AI And Ml For Instilling Customer Loyalty
Before a decade, loyalty programs meant cardboard or plastic cards with numbers printed on them. Customers had to either swipe the card or get it stamped while making payment at the billing counters. Today, loyalty programs have turned digital.
A study published by Forbes magazine recently pointed out how companies like Vodafone use loyalty programs powered by VR- Virtual Reality, AR-Augmented Reality, AI- Artificial Intelligence, and Geo-location for improving customer loyalty experience.
When it comes to customer experience, nothing can be as important as personalization. Brands have slowly realized how they can use technologies like ML and AI to create a unique journey for every customer.
Experts suggest that during the second half of 2019, more companies would invest in technology and deploy ML and AI tools like chatbots as well as other forms of virtual assistants to improve customer experience.
8. Combination Of A Loyalty Program And Subscription Model
Industry experts often argue when it comes to tagging Amazon’s Prime as a loyalty program or subscription-based service. However, no one would deny that Prime did impact Amazon customers’ loyalty. Loyalty program operators look at it as a reoccurring revenue model and develop their own plans around the same strategy. But, brands need to focus on the program’s commercial modeling to ensure their offering is not based on unsustainable financials.
9. Brand Partnerships
Airline brands partnering with players from the hospitality industry, card companies is something familiar. But, these days, brands from various categories are collaborating.
Telecom players can be seen collaborating with television networks, e-commerce companies, and vice-versa. The strategy is helping companies to use each other’s strengths for offering rewarding experiences to loyalists.
Plus, it helps them to leverage each other’s loyalty databases. The idea is also working as a great customer acquisition tool. During the coming months, more companies are set to drive loyalty by association.
10. Loyal Customers With Premium Loyalty Programs
Consumers enroll in several programs to enjoy benefits. However, individuals who opt for premium ones by paying a fee often turn out to be genuinely loyal. Amazon Prime’s data certifies this theory. Prime members spend considerably more compared to non-Prime shoppers. Thus, more companies are set to use premium offering instead of free ones to go for the kill.
11. Transparency And Cybersecurity
Consumers signing up for loyalty programs share their personal information, and expect the organization to take complete responsibility for protecting the same. Loyal customers appreciate top-notch cybersecurity and transparency across all the channels. Slowly but steadily, even smaller players are implementing best data security solutions for their web and mobile apps.
12. The Adaption of Specially Designed Comprehensive Loyalty Program Solutions
Valuable insights can be garnered from the most straightforward data sources in the organization with the help of customer loyalty solutions. Even recently viewed products, location data, purchase history, and the type of devices used for browsing products can help.
There are specially designed comprehensive loyalty program solutions, Loyal Solutions, available in the market. These and many other world-class consulting firms can develop mobile and web-based loyalty program software for several business verticals to help their business performance. Fortunately, firms don’t have to break the bank for designing and implementing these solutions.
You would also be able to measure the purchase frequency for members and non-members to check the ROI for your rewards and incentives with the help of loyalty program software. ROI measurable loyalty programs can ensure brands are not giving too much.
If you wish to get the best out of customized loyalty programs, you should consider chatting with experts. The team will help in developing customer loyalty software for several small and large firms around the world.