The impact of digital transformation on retail has been immense, lending to the vast array of products available online, the inflated number of retailers offering the same or similar products, and the price transparency of products across this range of retailers.
This combined with the ease of establishing a new retail brand (as brick-and-mortar stores are no longer a requirement) has caused mass disruption among the retail industry.
There is no disputing the impact the pandemic has had on accelerating this transformation. To compete, a brand’s ability to attract and retain loyal customers has never been more important.
At Plexure, we believe that loyal customers are built from three core pillars:
- Providing great experiences to customers, particularly ones they feel are worthy of sharing
- Offering great value per dollar spent on your products and services, which triggers repeat purchases
- Developing a trusted relationship with your customer that builds competition immunity
Unlocking each of these pillars – great experiences, great value, and trust – for individual customers is the key to creating loyalty, and this is best done via delivering truly personalized experiences or moments of magic. We call this Loyalty with a capital 'L'.
These personalized experiences require a deep understanding of the customer and manifest by way of messaging in the form of either offers or content that is both relevant and timely on the most personal device they have (their mobile phone).
To establish a deep understanding of a customer, marketers need to create efficient data gathering programs that help inform them about the needs and preferences of individual customers. This is where digital transformation is particularly beneficial.
However, in order to optimize loyalty programs, marketers should incentivize customers to share their personal data. This is where what we traditionally associate with loyalty - the "loyalty program" - fits in. At Plexure we refer to this as loyalty with a little 'l'.
Plexure currently supports three types of digital loyalty programs:
- Stamp Cards, where customers must purchase a set number of products in order receive a freebie
- Earn & Burn, where purchases earn a set number of points which can then be redeemed or "burned" against a preconfigured list of rewards
- Gamification, where customers can be rewarded for carrying out a specific activity within your mobile experience. Gamification is typically used to incentivize participation in a journey, for example: Complete your user profile and be rewarded with a discount or free product.
All three of the above provide value to the customer while bringing value to the marketer as customers self-identify when they make a purchase. Being able to connect a transaction to a specific customer and attach several other key attributes such as location and time of purchase is the foundation for building customer knowledge and personalization.
Brands often express some concern that little “l” loyalty can lead to significant cost burden on the company. That can be the case when marketers are not capturing customer insights. However, with digital loyalty also comes additional value which can be unlocked from creating personalized loyalty programs. For example, using Stamp Cards to reward high frequency customers, or leveraging Earn & Burn programs that incentivize specific customer behavior such as the purchase of a specific product (up-sell and cross-sell) at a specific time.
The specifics of a brands’ loyalty strategy will depend on the outcomes the marketer is trying to achieve from the program. Are you trying to guide customers towards more profitable products, or are you trying to increase utilization during off-peak times? It is critical that these are defined up front before embarking on a loyalty journey to ensure your program is a win-win for both customers and the company.
At Plexure, we have had great success rolling out digital loyalty programs with our customers. Plexure’s Loyalty solution is flexible enough to enable any of these strategies. When paired with Plexure’s Analytics capability, we ensure that all outcomes are measurable. This makes it easy to adjust the strategy if customers are not reacting the way marketers intended.
When combined with our other product capabilities, Personalization, Analytics, and Mobile Order & Pay (another excellent data capture tactic), we see increases of digital identification of approximately 50%.
This increase in digital identification increases marketer’s digital addressable base. It enables them to deliver better and more personalized customer experiences, which then helps to attract and retain more Loyal customers – the virtuous cycle is complete – Loyalty with a capital “L”.