Loyalty programs have slowly made their presence felt across travel, retail, financial services, and other business sectors. And since technology is progressive in nature, they are seeking for some kind of disruptive innovation that would turn them more consumer-friendly. Currently, companies are trying to implement new technologies that would suit their ever-growing needs. Blockchain is the next level innovation in this aspect and according to experts, it will bring the same change to banking what internet bought to media. Blockchain has become the first native digital currency for peer-to-peer value exchange.
It acts like a redemption for consumers since it provides them a single platform to access multiple loyalty programs. For example, imagine keeping only one wallet for all loyalty points and you don’t have to hunt for different options, limitations and redemption rules. Apart from that, there are a host of benefits for which Blockchain will redefine the future of all financial transactions in near future. Let’s explore.
1. It’s fast
The decentralized approach of blockchain diminishes the complications between buyer and merchant. Many stakeholders make e-commerce transactions unnecessarily complicated by involving parties that makes the process complicated by adding additional function and bureaucratic steps. Blockchain eliminates the need of a centralized authority, so the money can travel instantly in real-time.
2. It’s cheap
Blockchain reduces a lot of costs. All kinds of loyalty and financial transactions run through a lot of complex network of vendors, banks and payment processors. Blockchain removes all unnecessary third parties by allowing cheap and timeless peer-to-peer transactions. For any online transaction, a consumer ends up paying somewhere around 7% extra which can be minimized by switching to alternative mood of payments.
3. It’s Transparent
Transparency is one of the most salient features of Blockchain. Since it follows a distributed public ledger system, it’s possible to track every bit of information of a transaction. In e-commerce, marketplaces and brands usually keeps all information by themselves and charges the trader to pass them. Blockchain solves this issue by making all data visible and allows all involved parties to access data for free.
5. It’s easily accessible
Blockchain is digital in nature and by implementing it, a lot of additional costs can be minimized. By nature it’s less costly and has lots of potential to divert people’s minds to purchase and participate in global economy. And since it’s decentralized, the same loyalty points can be used for various purposes.
Blockchain is almost similar to the existing loyalty and transaction programs, except that it is cheaper and faster. In a country like India, it’s still early to declare it as the ultimate redemption for the existing loyalty programs since Indian government has not completely legalized it yet. But its transparent nature is a major step towards democratizing economy and bringing the power of economy back to people.
The e-commerce industry has revolutionised the way consumers think and purchase items. People love to shop online for all the convenience and benefits e-shopping brings with it. Consumers can shop anytime and anywhere for everyday or luxe products, save fuel cost, avoid traffic jams, and bypass crowded payment queues. The list is just endless. On top of that, a good customer loyalty program — that is simple to access — keeps the customers motivated and hooked for a substantial period of time.
The old patterns of consumer behaviour do not hold true in today’s digital age. So a customer loyalty program, that is constantly evolving according to millenials’ demands and industry trends, is definitely the way to go. A successful loyalty program depends on how effectively the consumer data is studied. With the right approach and proper discipline, a set of new benefits excites customers to shop at a reasonable cost. The old benefits, that are no longer serving any purpose, are eliminated from the program.
A game-changing loyalty program not only leads to an increase in sales but also results in new customer acquisition and better reputation for the business. A better brand image is definitely a good sign for overall business operations.
According to studies, it is the idea of a reward that makes most customers happy. The idea of saving money only comes after that. Since any great loyalty brings with it new customers and ups the sales, it helps the brand to reduce marketing costs to a great extent. On top of that, existing customers are far more likely to buy from the same brand again and again. Therefore, to keep them loyal is far more handy than to target new customers. Also, since these customers are already familiar with the company’s products and services, they are more cost-effective to serve! Reduction in cost to company and honest feedback are the two things that a business can rely on their loyal consumer base for.
Although many e-retailers understand the concept of customer loyalty fully and how important it is, many of them are lacking in effort for a sustained loyalty program. So there seems to be a disconnection. Still others don’t keep an accurate tab on how these programs are performing, even after they have been set into motion. The idea is to recognise the prime market and construct a plan that makes new customers loyal and keeps the loyal ones excited and looking forward to the brand’s new products. This has also proven to be helpful in beating competitors — that serve the same products and services — thereby gaining an edge over them!
Customer loyalty plays a very important role in maintaining a long-term and successful business and requires a detailed understanding of human behavior and their desires. A well-designed loyalty program will help in customer acquisition, engagement, retention and increasing number of loyal guests who repeat purchase thereby boosting revenue. On the other hand, if the program is poorly designed and implemented, it can have a negative impact on the company’s success.
When marketers are designing or improving their loyalty programs they should avoid the following pitfalls:
Undefined business objectives:
Loyalty schemes are designed to help customers develop an emotional connection with the brand. It’s of prime importance to understand the business requirements and link it to the overall business objective and brand values. For a customer loyalty program to be really effective it is important to make customers a priority and keeping the communication consistent so that they can establish a connection with the brand and are offered something valuable.
Treating all customers as equal:
It’s extremely important to understand every consumer is unique. Each of them has a different buying behavior and understanding how consumers behave will help design a profitable loyalty program. High-value customers are very vital to your brand as they churn more value to the brand and are loyal. Hence, it is important to differentiate between customers and treat the high-value customers differently. A key to this is personalizing their reward system and gift them such that they feel special.
Complicated program design:
Customers crave a hassle-free rewards program during the entire process of joining a program and claiming rewards. A loyalty program is more as long as it is simple to use and is convenient for the customers. If too many steps are involved in the earning of points people won’t bother to claim their rewards as it’s too much effort. This will develop resentment among the customers even when the brand message says that they value their customers as they don’t give enough importance to a buyer’s time. A program will be successful provided the entire design of loyalty program is well- communicated and transparent in its approach.
Ignoring the data:
The fundamental to a lucrative loyalty program lies in understanding the data collected from consumers every time they shop, review and refer it to others. It’s vital that business collect all this data, analyze it thoroughly and then use this information to create tailor-made rewards for individuals.
Frequent changes or no improvement at all:
It’s inadvisable to keep changing the existing mechanics of a reward program too often. Letting a member have enough time to accumulate points and redeem benefits will help businesses gain their trust and establish a bond with them. If the window between the two is very narrow and the program does not give enough time to earn points and then be able to redeem before expiring, the customers won’t feel appreciated and they will be hesitant in promising the brand their loyalty.
Making redemption difficult:
Because of delays and inadequate fulfillment of rewards, some loyalty programs make it very arduous for members to redeem their points and corresponding benefits. This may lead to loss of interest in the program and give up on the brand. Hence, the redemption should be instantaneous and convenient with instant gratification.
Not rewarding every purchase:
Quite a few loyalty programs only reward members for some of the purchases they make and hence fail to motivate them to spend more and earn benefits. It is important to pay attention to rewarding the high- value customers because their purchase margins are high but it’s equally important to reward those at the bottom of the pyramid too. Giving a customized experience to all members at different levels of the pyramid will only prove fruitful to the brand.
By avoiding these common loyalty pitfalls, most of which occur in the program design stage, you can ensure a reasonable chance of launching a successful loyalty program well before you put your program on the market. Retailers need to understand what their customers want, bake in a compelling value proposition; segment your customers; and use data to build relationships and put them front and center when planning the program for optimal success.