Today Loyalty programs form a major component of engagement with all the stakeholders in business. Their significance is of prime in retaining existing customers and thus reducing higher cost inputs. Similarly, improving the B2B partner relations or motivating employees is crucial and is made easy with Loyalty programs.
Giving Rewards while empowering the customers
For any business, empowering customers helps developing confidence in them about the business. Customer should be given a platform to review the products/services. This should be achieved actively by offering loyalty points to the customer for a single review that they provide for the product or service received. This eases feedback taking and incentivizes the customers to review.
Special occasion rewards
The loyalty programs can be offered at special occasions for the existing group of customers with higher discounts or amplified rewards than on the regular days. For instance, a gift card and 10% cash-back or an online shopping coupon & 100$ cash-back on minimum purchases. Reminders go a long way in keeping the customers hooked especially on the special events in their life such as birthdays or anniversaries
Businesses can bundle their products into a packaged offerings to the customers such as Amazon Prime. It offers unlimited free delivery of products coupled with free music & movie streaming on Prime Music and Prime Video respectively and numerous flash deals.
Successful businesses today rely on cordial relations with the existing trade partners/ clients. It takes a great amount of effort in building the relation and trust and even greater to maintain it. The partner loyalty program ensures that the partners are engaged in work with the businesses for long run. The best strategy to develop client relations through loyalty programs is to start organising business conferences, meet-ups or other similar events and offering VIP passes.
This programme will make an employee feel a pat on his back by way of being endorsed online. For every achievement the employee can be given digital pat on the back. This means the employee is rewarded by the addition of credit points into his account which can be redeemed later on and any product worth those points can be obtained.
Ultimately, all stakeholders desire to get tangible rewards by getting a free service/product or a cash-back. Whether rewards are given digitally or by manual methods, the loyalty programs dispense interface has to be simple and comprehensible such as the one created by Sephora beauty brand for their customers. And lastly the terms and conditions should be part of the loyalty program which could be in the form of FAQs to make it self-explanatory for the customers.
Despite it being a slightly low-key celebratory day, it has gained enough popularity on the social media at least. And hence, capturing a huge section of audience becomes quite easy on different social media platforms. Here are a few ways, you could cater to your employees/audience and market the idea of Father’s day to them:
Promote on Email
Irrespective of your company being the type that celebrates such days or not, or if you don’t specifically cater to the type of audience that does, promoting in-house events related to the day or events that are in correspondence to the same can be promoted within your target audience. Building up on catchy headlines/subjects for such promotional emails are highly likely to attract greater audience.
It can be a significantly healthy and fruitful idea to have your company approach local restaurants, eateries, bars and even fitness centers and partner with them and host vents or promote deals and offers that cater to the audience who are likely to be attracted by the same. Some offers such as ‘Bring your dad & the beer’s on us’ or ‘Like father-like son fitness challenge’, etc can prove to quiet a hit amongst younger generations.
Rule on Social Media
Having set up a contest specifically promoting the bond between fathers & children can be a great idea too. Running a contest that encourages people to post selfies of themselves with their father or having to write the funniest incident they shared with their children/father can also turn out to be a successful strategy to grab attention. Having the winners announced & distributing a promotional voucher or even a freebie of your own brand can do the company a whole world of good.
Spoilt for choice
Making your audience/customers part-take in events organised by you that celebrates father’s day & having fun games and rules set up for the same could be quite interesting. Partnering with fashion brands or clothing lines can also be an off-beat option but still quite impressive, though mothers are more likely to be interested in the shopping part, but that’s where it gets better. Your sale/event can have all the members of the family invited and participate in a game that requires them to select pieces of clothing each & the father gets to pick his favorite which can be given to him as a prize or at a discounted rate, etc.
These are some of the fun, interesting and practical ways to market Father’s Day to people in a more economical, interactive and impressive way for a wide range of audience.
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Businesses try to learn from their past in order to bypass the mistakes made, they look to the future for adapting possibilities that would make the customer happier and improve the overall experience of dealing with the brand.
Customer awareness is ever increasing; make-believe things are quickly Googled to check for its legitimacy. Easy access to information has made the customer search for experiences that are out of the ordinary.
As we look to customer engagement trends coming up in 2018, we need to remember that the customer is a brand in and of themselves. For success, we need to ensure our brands are complimentary to theirs.
1. Personalisation is key
The need for personalised brand interactions is on the rise. Customers feel more valued if the brand has personally had an interaction with them. This value will be measured in terms of brand success and loyalty over the next year. Customers already expect to be treated as individuals with specific preferences and that trend will become more evident over the next year. The need for the brand to understand and anticipate customer’s needs is going to be ever-increasing. All this seems like a big task for the brands to deal with, however the answer to this question is BIG DATA.
2. Multichannel is to become Omnichannel
Companies have to respond to the ever changing market demands. The current market is dominated by the Millennials, with the future in the hands of Gen-Z.
Both of these generations have grown up on the basis of the internet. Hence, instant gratification is a necessity.
Having an Omnichannel presence will improve the company’s customer engagement as the audience they cater to more ways of accessibility.
“Did you know? According to Marketing Week, 15 years ago the average consumer typically used two touch-points when buying an item and only 7% regularly used more than four. Today consumers use an average of almost six touch points, with 50% regularly using more than four.”“According to PWC, the demand for an omnichannel customer experience will be amplified by the need for nearly perfect execution by 2020”
3. Pro-active Customer Engagement
Debenhams, a large retailer applies a proactive customer engagement approach:
Delivery of in-depth content to inform customers before they decide to make a purchase.
How? They display a vast variety of information on their website that answers frequent questions — from guides on beauty and size guides, as well as home furniture & more.
This doesn’t just help the brand in its SEO strategy, it also helps to trim the overhead costs of returns and support while helping the customer maximizing delight in terms of experience.
4. Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be an integral part of Customer Engagement
“70% of retail decision makers globally are ready to adopt IoT to improve customer experiences”
5. Machine Learning
Machine learning allows computers and devices to learn from experience without any specific programming. Think of it as a seasoned psychology professional that knows your traits. This is done through buying behaviour and browser history.
One example of machine learning is by Netflix. The popular streaming service dishes out movie/show recommendations based on a few titles that you select while signing up. Surprisingly enough these titles are very much what the audience is looking for! How? Machine Learning’s Predictive Functionality. Based on customer feedback, ratings and browsing habits, the algorithm makes a predictive decision. The customer experience is vastly improved by such pro-active efforts which result in the customer being engaged with the brand.
Machine Learning in 2018 is expected to rise on all accounts. An ever-increasing number of companies are adapting this technology to improve customer experience and make machine learning a friend in need in the virtual world.
Customer experience is to be vastly improved in 2018. Through personalisation and implementation of various advances in technology, companies are trying to win over the customer. It is to be seen how the customers react to these trends and if brand loyalty will gain a stronghold due to improvements in customer experience.
Brands have been utilizing loyalty and rewards program within their customer community to keep their customers happy and well away from competition. From loyalty cards, discount coupons to scratch & win offers, brands have been using rewards as an incentive to create a customer base and also keep them loyal to the brand.
In the new digital age, such rewards have been upgraded. Digital rewards are the new ‘in’ thing that bring many advantages to both the customer and the brand. From making it easier for the customers to get their rewards to spreading the word about a brand, digital rewards have given the marketplace a new tool to expand brand reach and loyalty.
Digital rewards are both diverse and abundant. These are a few up-and-coming rewards that are catching the eye of the marketers:
According to a study by Mercator Advisory Group, it was found that in 2015 most of the money spent on gift cards was redeemed as eGifts. With the heavy increase in digital buying, it makes more sense for brands to motivate customers through eGifts.
Moreover, brands can also use eGifts to rewards employees to acknowledge their hard work on projects or commemorate special occasions. This builds the confidence in the employees and helps with brand loyalty.
Coupons and codes
With greater numbers opting for online buying, it makes sense for brands to give their offers and discounts in the virtual world. Coupons and codes that are sent exclusively to loyal customers makes them feel special and helps retain them.
Incentives like cash backs and discounts, mobile wallets have taken online marketing by storm. Creating a niche where customers are incentivised for their buying behaviour has only increased the appeal of mobile wallets.
Benefits of digital rewards program
Increases the brand’s value
The power of digital rewards is that it gives the customer a sense of empowerment. With every amount they save or a prize they win, it helps build an image of a brand that it is not in business for the profits. It builds the image of a brand that genuinely cares about its customers.
Provides the customers with more choices
The brand gives the customers the option of choosing the kind of rewards they want. Either it would be as loyalty points that can be redeemed for discounts or gifts or in the form of promotional codes that are given to an exclusive customer community.
Each reward program is made around the customer, their preferences, previous encounters with the brand and their redemption history. This makes the program more relevant and useful to the customer.
Unlike the days when one had to send a letter to a brand with a token to get a gift, the digital rewards program helps both brands and customers get instant rewards. As soon as a customer provides a preferred action (like, tweet), the customer is provided with their reward. It needs less effort from the customer too.
Get rewarded anytime, anywhere
There is no limit to the application of digital rewards. People can be rewarded just by signing up for a newsletter and this can be done from anywhere. Because of the high mobility of the digital market, people can redeem their rewards just about anywhere.
Brings positive interaction between brand and customer
Everybody likes free gifts. Digital rewards help people collect more rewards doing what they do the most nowadays – being a part of the social media sphere. Reward programs also help in spreading the news about a brand since people share the newest offers with their friends and family.
Incentive to be a loyal customer
With the reward point application, people tend to stay loyal customers to get greater rewards over time. But the rewards need to be good enough to keep the customers interested.
Helps engage on the social media
Facebook and Twitter are where most of a brand’s customer base is situated. Potential customers also reside in the digital sphere. Having current customers talk about a brand on their social media helps in increasing exposure and value. Digital rewards do just that by giving customers freebies when they engage with the brand on social media.
The cost of setting up a digital rewards platform takes less money than the traditional card-based loyalty programs. It is also easier for customers to check-up on their points and look for other offers that are available.
As can be seen, ‘digital rewards’ is the new mantra to creating a brand identity that is more personal and effective.
With RewardPort programs, your brand gets higher visibility among its customers.
A recent study showed that customers are 58 percent more likely to tell others about their experience with a brand than they would have done five years ago. One important outlet for this exchange is the social sphere which gives consumers and businesses the opportunity to reach lots of people.
As the taste of consumers align with new market contexts, businesses must look for applicable ways to engage them beyond building traditional relationships. Most customers expect their vendors to engage with them through digital channels. Interestingly, it is not just one channel but an Omni channel approach. This includes the social media, the web, email and other channels.
Small and Mid-size companies must take advantage of these new outlets to drive their brand. The technological and demographic changes that are sweeping across the economic landscape have changed the playing field. Most customers prefer having their questions or problems resolved without needing to talk with a customer service agent. Furthermore, customers want to engage with a brand on their own terms; either through human interaction or a digital channel. Small and Mid-size organizations that do not offer multiple engagement channels may sabotage their relationship with their customers or remain at a competitive disadvantage.
It is important to have a portfolio of services that connect with your customers when and where they want. The Human and digital channels of interaction must be properly optimized. Every business can get a virtual receptionist team which can double as a virtual assistant. They would screen and transfer calls to a representative of a small business based on agreed schedules. Beyond the administrative functions of this team, they can process orders, make outbound calls, answer customer service questions and schedule appointments.
Another important platform is to run an effective digital engagement system. A good digital platform allows your customers to be educated on your business and product offers, amplify the sales process, resolve service issues, connect with prospects, answer customer questions and so much more.
When your Omni channel platform gives an outstanding experience to your customers, they ultimately become your brand advocates. It is essential to buttress the fact that great customer service occurs on multiple fronts. There is no leading brand that can retain a large share of the market by using one channel to reach its audience. Customers need a relevant, compelling and consistent service to remain loyal to a brand. When your business has many advocates pushing its case in the market, it creates a positive impact on your bottom-line.
On the long run, one positive customer experience reduces the number of service inquiries that you get. The customers who are loyal to your brand begin to share their good times with others. The place of good customer service goes beyond the one on one relationship you share with your customers. It is important to entrench your brand and connect with your market through the multiple channels that are available. With a careful forecast, investment and plan, any business can be able to position their brand as leaders with a viable Omni channel framework.
It is interesting to talk about a subject that is creating so much buzz across various business circles. There is a lot of evidence that points to businesses enjoying higher sales through active engagement of their point of sales units. The influence of the out of store online activities on in-store purchase decisions is unique and worth a close look. The moment a consumer is about to do a transaction; it is critical to build loyalty and create multiple income channels for your business.
The message of marketers to attract customer interest in various brands has reached a saturation stage. Sadly, this has led to a point of diminishing returns for marketers who operate in various industries. This means that any business that wants to stay ahead of the pack must be able to communicate with its consumers at the right moments in order to win the lion’s share of the customer’s attention.
One of the best ways to engage this opportunity or business dynamic is to envision the engaged consumer as a segment all by itself. Many brands have an opportunity to engage a great number of their clients but are not paying attention to this new trend. It is important to give a high priority to this move in order to draw customers that would be loyal and valuable to your brand in the long term.
Here are 4 of the channels of engagement at the point of sale of consumer goods that is generating the right results:
Text Message promotions
Shoppers can be enticed to enter contests while shopping with the use of an effective text message. It is important to get the buyers’ consent in order to interact with them and build a strong following for your brand through their mobile device. About 67% of individuals do their shopping through a mobile device so this is a channel that must not be overlooked. You can create a trend by telling them the best time to shop while tying it to various store locations where you may want to drive increased sales.
Email Coupon programs
Consumers can register to receive limited time offers and coupons from their favorite brands. They opt in for such messages/communication from in-store promotions, brand websites, text message, mail messages or in response to calls. You can track the conversion rate from this medium and further understand the location from which the consumer makes the purchase. This can help you to build a strong data and dominate the market that you serve.
Consumers are encouraged to register on the sites and provide important details about themselves. The data would capture their social network profile, information about their household and this can aid the message, research, segmentation or relevance of your sales approach to reach them. This can help you create a stronger engagement with even the most passive customer on your list.
Social media connects brands to their customers like no other channel. When this avenue is well harnessed, it can influence the shopper’s behavior and increase the profit margins of any business.
A customer is not an interruption to our work, but the purpose of it. There may be a controversy about who quoted this, but the inherent truth in the statement can never be contested. Companies spend millions of dollars every year to attract customers, yet they manage to retain very few. Technology can help to bridge the communication gap between customers and brands, yet it threatens to make them lose the human touch. To quote an example from our everyday lives- how many of us have the patience to wait on the IVR until our call is connected to a human customer service representative?
Here’s what every business needs to do in order to engage customers in 2015 and retain them for years to come:
1. Know your customers and know him well
When Wally Urtz, a store manager at the Food Emporium in Hastings-on-Hudson, a New York City suburb was transferred to a nearby suburb, the entire village of around 8000 people rallied around him. A manager may seem to be an unlikely person to set off such an emotional outburst, but he represents ‘a dying breed that is being replaced by something that people are resentful to and very unhappy about because the human element is missing’, quotes an article about him in the New York Times (October 26, 2003). Incorporating the human touch in our business isn’t difficult. Simple steps like calling clients, sending them letters/emails, or meeting them in person can go a long way in knowing customers and making them feel special.
2. Personalize the experience by using technology to automate communication in a scalable way:
Technology can be used to automate communication. This can be tackled by creating interactive documents and integrating elements such as drop down menus, data feeds, etc.
3. Emotionally engage…its beyond offers and discounts now:
Companies are obsessively fighting the price war, yet customers are more fickle than ever. Only those that can move beyond the price tag zone and create real value for customers can survive. As earlier said, know your customers well. And use this information to surprise them and personalize their experience. A discount driven approach cannot sustain for long, but one driven by customer loyalty can. To be successful in customer engagement, make sure that you tweak your business model to rely on loyalty.
3. Engage across channels:
A typical modern day customer refers to not less than 6 to 7 communication channels before deciding on a product. Some of them include website content, in store, or social media. Businesses should ensure that information passed through each of these channels shouldn’t be conflicting or ambiguous. Technology can help in this regard by standardizing enterprise wide systems, thereby allowing companies to send out branded messages via emails, SMS’s etc.
4. Mobile engagement is most effective…get this right:
Smartphone searches are all set to replace desktop search. Companies are now busy exploiting this trend with location based messages and mobile ads, incorporating mobile SEO and adapting a responsive web design.
5. Reward them for actions…even the simplest one:
Don’t we all thrive on attention? Rewarding customers with small surprises can go a long way in creating brand loyalty and increasing customer retention.
6. Make customers feel like a VIP:
The easiest way to show that you value customers is by being polite. Words such as ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ often seem insignificant until someone stops using them. Get to know customers interests and wants by using technology such as Google Think Insights and include these habits by publicizing and praising them openly.
7. Use technology effectively…build or outsource, but do it:
Technology can be used to get your message across its intended audience. Webinars can be hosted on topical issues, using QR codes, Wi-Fi targeting and arranging virtual meetings are some of the things that businesses can do. If adapting to technology seems an overwhelming task or if you are starved of time, outsourcing is a good option.
8. Use the Internet of Things to engage:
Market researchers have predicted that by 2020, more than 212 billion devices are likely to be connected through IoT. To explain IoT in a nutshell, this is a technology that enables people to connect everyday physical objects to the internet, enabling them to communicate with other devices and even transfer data. With IoT, you’d never run out of grocery supplies because your fridge could be preprogrammed to monitor stock and send a message to the local grocer automatically.
9. Participatory engagement- involve customer in your next product development:
A new product development need not necessarily involve inventing something new. More often than not, it involves modifying an existing product by eliminating its limitations. Involving customers in this process not only results in better customer engagement, but also ensures that the end result is in line with customer expectations.
Customer engagement needs patience and creativity. Creating brand loyalty is the ultimate goal because this is directly linked to profitability. But without maintaining a fine balance, your efforts are likely to backfire, because you may end up overwhelming him. There may be different ways of engaging a customer, but at the end of the day the main aim of every strategy is to create happy consumers who can promote your products to one and all.