By Dan Slavin
It’s a tough landscape for loyalty marketers. Member engagement is declining, traditional contact strategies are proving less effective, and program performance is no longer meeting expectations. As loyalty marketers strive to tackle these issues, there are several positive steps that loyalty marketers can take to engage and retain customers and boost loyalty program ROI.
Don’t ask customers to carry cards
In a CodeBroker Mobile Loyalty Survey of 1,207 U.S. consumers, 43% said carrying cards and retrieving them at point of sale was by far the biggest hassle of existing programs. A full 65% of consumers had attempted to redeem a reward at POS only to discover that it had expired. Most revealing was that 71% said they would be more likely to use their loyalty cards and redeem coupons if they could access them from their mobile phones.
Why make customers carry physical cards at all? A full 95% of Americans own a cell phone, according to Pew Research Center and the majority always carry it with them, so it’s the perfect conduit for loyalty programs. The less friction for the customer, the better. That idea extends to the sign-up process, too. Customers don’t want to be faced with a detailed form to fill out at POS, or a multiple stage process with hoops to jump through. It should be quick and easy to sign up via mobile.
Make Customers Aware of their Rewards
It’s enormously frustrating for customers when they can’t see at-a-glance what rewards they’ve earned and how the process works. Almost 40% of respondents to the Mobile Loyalty Survey said they didn’t even realize a reward was available. If your customers are missing out on rewards because they’re expired, or they don’t realize they’ve earned them in the first place, then your communication strategy is not working.
You want to offer mobile coupons on all available channels, but track redemption, so that they’re truly one-time use. Consider that mobile coupons can go viral, so unlimited offers that customers can reuse again and again can get very expensive. Rather than limiting the value of the offer, deploy single-use mobile coupon software that can track and manage your coupon redemptions. Always mark used mobile coupons clearly as redeemed, so there’s no confusion for customers.
Loyalty marketers need to work to ensure seamless management of reward data across multiple devices and communicate directly with customers, which leads us neatly to the next point.
Engage across many channels
We know that different customers have different preferences around interaction, so it isn’t enough to just have a mobile app. And what happens when customers don’t want to download an app? You’ll want to consider text messages, Facebook, Apple Wallet, and other potential avenues of engagement. An omnichannel approach improves the experience for customers and it also leads to tangible benefits for retailers. Average basket size is 13% higher and profitability is 11% higher with an omnichannel approach compared to a single channel approach, according to an EKN mobile loyalty study.
Make it possible for customers to access their loyalty program information 24/7 on demand via whatever channel they prefer. Whether they want to text in, open an app, click a link in an email, use a digital wallet, access via Facebook Messenger, or use the mobile web, you should provide that option. Don’t force them into one channel or make them log in every time. CodeBroker’s Mobile Loyalty Survey found that 70% of consumers say they’d use a mobile loyalty program if it did not involve a sign-in or mobile app download.
Know your customer
Retailers collect a lot of data about their customers nowadays, but loyalty marketers are struggling to transform that data into actionable insight. While 74% of respondents to a Forrester survey said that they collect customer preference data, only 45% said they actually use it to personalize loyalty offers, communications or other interactions. That’s a huge missed opportunity.
Personalization is a high priority for 54% of Generation Z, 52% of Millennials, 48% of Generation X, and 40% of Baby Boomers according to Rare Consulting. That begins with identification of your customers preferred communication channel and can be developed into tailored offers that meet their expectations and make them feel truly valued.
Get used to an omnichannel approach to mobile loyalty. Consumers are much more likely to enroll in your program if they can do so via their preferred mobile channel. By delivering relevant communications, integrated across multiple channels, and learning about your customer’s preferences, it’s possible to increase sign-ups, engagement and program performance.