Nearly 70 percent of consumers say their loyalty is more difficult for a retailer to maintain than ever before, according to a recent Clarus Commerce study. And consumers are pinning the blame on retailers — 88 percent say retailers could do more to earn their long-term loyalty.
When it comes to satisfying the needs of increasingly demanding customers, retailers need new strategies. From recognizing the importance of each interaction with a customer to personalizing your loyalty program’s offerings, adopting a more modern approach can enable your brand to secure the loyalty of today’s customers for years to come.
Don’t Waste a Moment
Every moment matters in the battle to earn customer loyalty. Although more consumers are shopping online than ever before, the in-store experience still influences a customer's decision to shop with your brand. You can build upon a positive online interaction by ensuring your in-store staff has the knowledge to deliver top-notch service and generate interest in your loyalty program.
Employees can be your biggest brand loyalty advocates. Therefore, it’s crucial that they provide customers with details about the program as well as potential benefits that will compel them to sign up. With these face-to-face loyalty moments, retailers can build a strong human and emotional connection between the brand and customer.
Since they may have been onboarded years ago, it’s a good idea to include more experienced employees in training sessions. Going over simple, but important items — including which specific benefits come with loyalty program membership or the key differences between tiers — can refresh the memories of long-time associates, while also getting new hires up to speed and excited.
Make it Personal
Transactional benefits like savings on purchases or free shipping are an essential component of any loyalty program. After all, customers want to feel like they got a great deal. But while it’s important not to lose sight of the value a discount can deliver, there’s more to building long-term loyalty.
By creating experiences that are catered to the needs and preferences of your best customers, you can quickly move the needle on loyalty. Unique experiences are what create differentiation. For example, by organizing global adventures for its outdoors-oriented customers, REI is one of many retailers that improves loyalty by providing customers with experiences they can’t find anywhere else.
Consider complementing transactional benefits with a similar set of experiences. Striking the right balance between the two types of perks can pique the interest of customers and keep them around for the long haul.
Look Into Premium Loyalty
Switching retailers has never been easier. With the touch of a button, customers can find a better price or track down a product you don’t currently have in stock. In this era of increased accessibility, achieving differentiation and earning customer loyalty starts with a premium loyalty program.
Fifty-eight percent of consumers currently belong to a premium program, while 65 percent plan to join one in the next 12 months. And it’s easy to see why. By delivering instant, 24/7 access to top-tier benefits, a premium loyalty program paves the way for deeper relationships with your most dedicated customers.
Rather than waiting weeks or months to reap the rewards of loyalty program memberships, customers can enjoy the best your brand has to offer. The result? Greater engagement and increased brand advocacy among members who take advantage of your program’s most enticing transactional and experiential benefits.
Earning customer loyalty isn’t as simple as offering a punch card. With the ability to jump between retailers at a moment’s notice, customers aren’t likely to stick with brands that rely on traditional tactics. From focusing on both the online and in-store experiences to investing in a premium loyalty program that offers unmatched experiential benefits, retailers that take a new approach to loyalty are more likely to win over today’s consumers.
Tom Caporaso is the CEO of premium loyalty solutions pioneer Clarus Commerce, with over 24 years of experience in the retail, e-business and customer loyalty industries.
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Tom Caporaso is the CEO of premium loyalty solutions pioneer Clarus Commerce, with over 24 years of experience in the retail, e-business and customer loyalty industries. Appointed Clarus’ Chief Executive Officer in 2011, Tom’s leadership has led to exceptional growth for the once 10-person start-up which now boasts over 90 employees.
Under Tom’s guidance, Clarus has cultivated partnerships with brands and retailers such as MasterCard, FedEx, Bluestem Brands and Good Housekeeping; creating and managing premium loyalty programs that reward both the brand and its customers.
Caporaso is a noted expert in the retail, customer loyalty and e-commerce industries who contributes regularly to Nasdaq and has been frequently featured in numerous other outlets.