Loyalty solutions have come a long way since the initial transition from paper punch cards to automated systems. Successful retailers and restaurant operators acknowledge the need to implement these increasingly sophisticated options as a part of their overall business strategy.
In 2018, consider leveraging loyalty technology to:
Engage in social listening.
When used with loyalty solutions, social listening tools allow you to identify, track and react to customers who are already engaged with your retail or restaurant brand. These tools also allow you to collect better first-party data, which can be used to form the basis of personalized engagement offers that go beyond transactions. It also paves the way for reaching consumers at the point of decision, which can mean more sales.
Tap into an increased number of loyalty channels.
Retailers and restaurateurs benefit from loyalty technology that enables communication with hyper-connected loyalty program members and engage them via email and mobile platforms. However, it’s time to expand the circle to include online bots, SMS messaging, mobile wallet technology, and hand-held clienteling devices. Tapping into these channels leads to improved connections with loyalty program participants on the go and at virtually any time of the day. These solutions can deliver real-time offers at the most appropriate moments (e.g., through a mobile wallet when a shopper is already in the store).
Loyalty technology in the form of bots, SMS messaging solutions, and mobile devices also allows retailers and restaurateurs to collect additional information about program participants, offering the possibility of a higher level of customer engagement.
Take advantage of geo-specific loyalty programs that communicate one brand and one message.
Just as customer experiences in general must remain consistent across all channels, so must loyalty experiences. A lack of consistency can lead to confusion and will make your program less effective and less likely to encourage loyalty, no matter how appealing it may otherwise be.
To overcome problems with loyalty consistency across channels, consider a geo-specific loyalty program. Whether it uses email, bots, SMS, mobile devices, or any other platform, the program should present all program members with the same message. It should also portray your retail or restaurant brand in a manner that doesn’t vary from channel to channel. The less confusion for loyalty program members, the better the result.
Utilize customer relationship management (CRM) technology.
CRM solutions pave the way for gathering customer engagement data from all channels in one place. Customers can shop or dine at any of your locations, and their transaction history and rewards balances will be linked to one account you can access from a centralized workstation. With this type of loyalty technology, transaction histories and rewards balances from other retail channels — like websites and mail order operations — will be linked as well. The more streamlined customer and operator access to such information, the more loyal program members will become and the more easily you can engage them.
Additionally, when CRM solutions are in place, members can log in to update or complete their profiles online. Loyalty program members can also update profiles at the POS. Such convenience only increases customers’ likelihood to engage further with your business and remain loyal to it in the short and long terms alike.
As loyalty technology continues to evolve. It’s important to adapt and take advantage of new functionality to keep your edge over competitors and meet your customers’ expectations. How will your loyalty program evolve in 2018?