As sustainability becomes more and more important to consumers, there is a big push toward forming and nurturing relationships with a set number of retailers, rather than chasing the best price or the latest special. Prompting this shift has been an uptick in Gen Z and Millennial shopping demands. These younger shoppers are less focused on cost than their parents and grandparents and more focused on supporting brands that help them express their persona. This presents a great opportunity for retailers, especially those who reward their repeat customers via customer loyalty programs.
Customer loyalty programs are ways to reward repeat customers. They can be a free product, gift or meal after the customer makes a required number of purchases or reaches the required dollar amount. They can be points that can be used for future discounts or benefits, such as airline frequent flier programs. Or, they can be VIP programs, where loyal customers can access early shopping days, advance notice of sales or a VIP social media group.
Customer loyalty programs aren’t new. Retailers have used stamp cards for years, where a customer brings in a card every time he or she visits the retailer until they get a full card.
Customer loyalty programs in the 21st century
While stamped cards will still work to measure the number of times a customer has purchased from you, there are a few inherent problems to this low-tech option. Customers can’t use the card for online purchases (or have to take another step). Cards are apt to be lost or mislaid. Personally, I have a drawer full of cards from a loyal Mexican restaurant with just one or two of the required 10 stamps.
Research by Bond, a brand loyalty consulting company, found that 95 percent of customer loyalty program members want to be able to engage with the retailer via technology. In short, it’s time to get rid of those cards. You need to make your loyalty program available via mobile devices, so customers can track their progress and log purchases right from their phones.
However, bringing your customer loyalty program into the digital age is just a beginning. Retail innovation companies, such as Ombori, offer a number of ways to engage retail customers, both in and out of the store. Ombori’s store assistant helps in-store customers find products, identify sale items and order items that are out of stock. The company’s one-of-a-kind “Selfie Mirror” engages with customers using AI and encourages them to take a picture with the mirror.
Ombori is an innovative technology company that provides a platform for ready-to-use, customizable, modular solutions for interactive in-store screens and mobile devices. In addition to providing innovative in-store technology, the Swedish-based company offers customer flow management systems and queue management systems. Customers can’t use the card for online purchases (or have to take another step). Cards are apt to be lost or mislaid. Personally, I have a drawer full of cards from a loyal Mexican restaurant with just one or two of the required 10 stamps.