Over the years, the concept of brand loyalty hasn’t changed, but a brand’s approach to customer loyalty and retention has. Customer loyalty is shifting to brands that deliver exceptional customer experiences using more relevant personalization. Whether a brand interaction occurs online, in-app, in-store, over the phone, or across the social landscape, brands who recognize customers across all touchpoints are the ones driving successful loyalty.
As businesses no longer control the customer journey, they must react and adapt in real-time to the behaviors and cues that their customers are sending out. According to a recent survey by , 93% of consumers believe it’s important that every interaction they have with a brand is excellent. Smart brands exceed customer expectations at every interaction and remember customers don’t think in terms of channels as marketers do. They engage with brands in the way that’s most convenient for them at that given time and place.
Some retailers now have an additional challenge, and that’s staying relevant for customers in this new economic landscape.
The current climate sees brands engaging with consumers at a time when encouraging spend behavior can be seen as insensitive. Smart brands will create open lines of communication, engagement, and feedback to act as key competitive differentiators for success. Brand marketing has a tremendous role to play in guiding consumers towards behaviors that are most appropriate in uncertain times.
By driving the adoption of new technology, brands can meet customers where they are faster and react in real-time. Rolling out new behaviors and offerings like online shopping for household items and groceries, curbside pickup, contactless payments, and extended return options will help naturally lead the transformation and build trust amongst your consumers.
Now, more than ever, brands will be striving to make their customer experiences frictionlessRetailers can no longer depend solely on driving in-store traffic. Recognizing every customer across all brand interactions will ensure brands are engaging with them in a relevant, consistent, and personalized ways. By driving digital engagement, brands can make their digital experiences more than just transactional touchpoints.
In this new landscape, retailers can disrupt or be disrupted.
Loyalty programs will act as a key differentiator for brands and can be used to better connect with customers and foster an engaged community. They can, for example,
Accelerate the training of new customer behaviors with the exchange of loyalty currency (i.e. complete your first online order for bonus points).
Provide meaningful brand interactions beyond transactions (i.e. complete your extended preference profile for points).
Attract new customers via referrals from your best customers (i.e. refer-a-friend to join the loyalty program for points/reward offering).
This next generation of loyalty will only further unlock more opportunities to collect rich first-party data to provide customers relevant, personalized experiences in real-time.