Every retailer knows the value of brand loyalty — starting with more visits, bigger spends and better word of mouth. It’s a no brainer combining loyalty with properly personalized promotions to really boost revenue. The challenge lies in being able to offer truly meaningful personalisation. And that’s why a revamp of the way we actually promote goods is long overdue.
Points-based and past it
What do retailers want customers to do? Spend more, obviously. But there are plenty of other customer behaviours that are valuable to the retailer. How about getting shoppers to visit the store or website more often? Spend longer in-store? Try a new high-margin product range? Buy complementary products? Leave a positive review? Share an offer with their networks via social media? Try a new shopping experience? Or download the retailer’s app?
Many points-based loyalty programmes fall short because they only encourage one action – purchase – and the purchase of any product. Schemes focus on accumulating points for money off a typical shop — instead of incentivising extra spend. And money-off rewards are often only noticed at the point of purchase – either in-store or online – when it’s too late to add an extra item or instigate another useful behaviour.
Why add friction?
Inspired by the likes of Amazon recommendations, some forward-thinking retailers have evolved their points programmes. For instance, some send promotional emails on birthdays. Others email customers weekly to ask them to choose between different offers, but often these involve the customer having to go through the process of checking their email, logging into the store website, choosing an offer – which may or may not be useful to them – and then visiting the store to buy. The onus is on the customer to access the offer – which benefits the retailer just as much. Isn’t that the wrong way around?
Don’t get us started on stamp cards
The buy-nine-coffees-get-one-free loyalty model isn’t only limited to hospitality. You can find similar discounts on fuel and books. But when a card is physically stamped it’s open to abuse, theft, and of course the retailer cannot check who bought the items in the first place.
Rewards should give retailers insight into individual customer behaviour. Any promotion that relies on paper is outdated – and is always going to be difficult to track. Consequently, many coffee chains have moved to an app version of the stamps, which negates some of the above. But are they really zero-ing in on providing offers to suit specific individual tastes? Are sufficient numbers of customers migrating to mobile? And why give a customer an item for free that they would probably have bought anyway?
Promotions shouldn’t just be about spend – they should encourage shoppers to try (and buy) new things — something many stamp card schemes fail to do.
Promotions that punish
We’ve all read stories of small businesses that couldn’t cope with demand after signing up with a well-known voucher scheme. We hear less about bigger retailers being stung by offers that are repeatedly redeemed by the same person due to an operational oversight – but it happens every day. One of the key problems retailers face is managing reward use by individual customers in real-time. Not to forget the prevalence of matched promotions — which lead to a race to the bottom on price, rather than encouraging additional spend.
So, what’s the answer?
Retailers need to create highly-personalized offers and incentives that encourage a range of behaviour – including referrals and additional visits. They have to surprise customers with these offers wherever they are, rather than waiting on a store or website visit. And they need to offer promotions that are intelligent and truly personal – so offers centre on complementary items rather than complimentary – such as money off a repeat purchase.
How about a chemist that notices spend on sun block and offers discounts on sunglasses? A fast fashion retailer that provides a referral to a jeweller when you buy a party dress? Or a grocer that sees you buying a packet of jamon in real-time, and sends you a discount code via text message for a bottle of sherry before you reach the alcohol aisle?
Ease of integration and experimentation
It’s easy to forget that not every retailer has a loyalty scheme, and some are wary of evolving their promotional offers, because of fear of difficult systems integration. But moving to a more personalized promotional engine doesn’t have to be painful.
Flooid Personalized Offers work via a cloud-hosted omnichannel voucher management tool that can enhance any ecosystem. It enables real-time interaction between customers, sales channels and engagement channels – whether in-store or out – and delivers complete control over offers and rewards at the individual customer level. It’s an API-driven platform that can be adopted in stages, and it removes friction for both retailers and shoppers, by delivering the reward to the sales channel and ensuring a seamless redemption experience. Once retailers witness the ROI on a simple discount like £5 on £100 spend, they can layer on more sophisticated AI- or CRM-based loyalty engines of their choice — without having to worry about costly or complicated integration.
Personalized loyalty that pays dividends
Flooid Personalized Offers has been designed to encourage any behaviour over any channel at any time. It gives retailers an easy entry into loyalty, and the ability to create flows for store visits, spend over time and social engagement.
Rewards and third-party codes are stored in a cloud-hosted offer wallet, meaning loyalty follows the customer, not the channel, and offers can be accessed via any channel in real-time through simple integration. Unique voucher codes provide tracking and protection against misuse. Voucher redemption can be checked against basket spend – giving insight into individuals – and vouchers can be triggered via a host of actions including social media interaction, proximity to beacons, location check-ins and customer feedback.
The system works: take Krispy Kreme. America’s favourite doughnut brand evolved from a stamp card plus POS system to a full Personalized Offers programme with Flooid and HTK’s CRM-based loyalty product Horizon, which uses customer data and algorithms to match offers to individuals. Krispy Kreme enjoyed a loyalty member spend uplift of 37%. In the first month alone 15,000+ rewards were used, and the loyalty scheme continues to grow by 800+ per day on average.