Customer Loyalty: Why the Game’s Changing & How You Can Win It
Acquiring new customers for your business is a lot more challenging and costs up to five times more than it does to retain one. Comparatively, if you focus on your existing customer base, who already KNOW your brand, you will encourage repeat purchases. It is a known fact that repeat customers spend 60 percent more per transaction than first-time customers! And, one of the things that plays a significant role in encouraging repeat purchases is excellent customer service. But good customer service isn’t simple.
This is where customer loyalty programs come into the picture. They aren’t an entirely new concept, but considering that we all have the SAME loyalty card and benefits, it has certainly turned stale.
Fortunately, some brands have figured out a way. They are actively embracing new technology, following current trends, and feeling the pulse of their customers to give customer loyalty programs the much-needed facelift. Let’s take a look at what they are doing.
Location-based services can be built into your apps to track as well as reward your most loyal customers with something they will cherish. For instance, if the user is near your store, automatically notify them of an in-store, limited-time discount or offer. Moreover, based on their past purchases, you could recommend the best money-saving deals. And using past-purchase and browsing behavior, direct them to specific aisles where there’s merchandise they might be interested in. If they make a purchase, reward them with points. Who wouldn’t want to save some moolah!
Since we are talking about geolocation technology we have to talk about Foursquare. With your business listed on Foursquare, you can reward or thank your customers for checking in at your outlet by giving them discounts or special, limited-time offers. Starbucks had great success — one of their offers resulted in a 50 percent increase in check ins. That also means good sales! Thinking about embracing geolocation already?
Gamification doesn’t have anything to do with creating games. It involves integration of gaming mechanics in a non-gaming setup, which, in your case, is a customer loyalty program. But why must you turn to game logic? Because they are addictive and can make people interact with you on your website or app for much longer.
Now, let’s understand this better through Starbucks’ My Reward Program. Their program is still a point-collection scheme, but, it’s been given a facelift with gamification. Customers can accumulate points in various ways, including buying Starbucks products at grocery stores. Once they bag 300 stars, they become gold members and are rewarded when they buy on the surprise monthly double-star days. Talk about repeat purchases galore.
What’s more — Starbucks also gives its customers a personalized gold card, which is a matter of tangible prestige. And, a real Starbucks fan will spend (once again repeat purchase) to get to the gold level and continue leveraging further benefits through accumulated points. Must say, Starbucks has definitely figured out how they can get their customers hooked and revenues soaring.
Before we move on to talk about the next strategy, just make sure you keep two things in mind while applying gaming thinking:
- Give a visual progress bar. These cues will keep them motivated and focused to reach their goal.
- Encourage them to share their achievement on social media so that more people become aware of your brand.
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that’s extremely popular among blockchain technology enthusiasts, especially millennials. It’s been almost a decade since the first bitcoin was mined. Who would have thought that cryptocurrency would take the world by the storm?
EZ Rent-A-Car is the first in the car rental and travel sector to award reward points in cryptocurrency through their loyalty program, EZ Money. Their customers complete the exchange at the CryptoRewards Exchange, powered by Persuade. Considering that the majority of EZ Rent-A-Car’s customers are millennials, this customer retention strategy provides a more relevant redemption option than the usual gift cards and discount coupons.
Another enticement is that the loyalty program members aren’t really investing their personal funds to buy digital currency. They are just using their reward points and converting it for financial growth. This gives them an opportunity to study the crypto market with lower personal risk.
#4 Augmented Reality
Remember Pokémon Go? The mad rush it created? People were so into the game that its daily active users surpassed that of Tinder, Twitter, and Snapchat. Don’t tell me you didn’t try playing it even once!? If you did, then your participation proves (and so does the rest of the worlds’) that augmented experiences are a delight. What’s commendable is that compared to VR, which packs us off to a new, virtual and immersive world, augmented reality brings that same immersive experience into the real world.
The Pokémon Go frenzy faded, but not without teaching a lesson, especially for retailers. AR can empower consumers to make efficient purchase decisions. In fact, Walgreen went on to experiment with AR on their loyalty application. This app guides customers through the store and helps them discover products and in-store promotions and discounts. Moreover, it helps them discover how they can earn loyalty points, too. This makes the shopping experience wholesome and the customers feel that every penny spent is worth it.
Another example is Sephora’s Virtual Artist Tool. It employs the AR technology that accurately tracks facial features. Consumers can play with lip colors, eyeshadows, and other makeup to see how they look virtually before they buy. They can also find a foundation that matches their skin tone through AI and sample a fragrance without trying it on via a touchscreen and scented air.
After reading about the new-age customer loyalty programs brands are running, isn’t it time for your brand to innovate too? After all, innovation = customer satisfaction.
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