Seven Loyalty trends to track in 2018

Here are seven important trends to watch in customer retention that could help Brands resonate better and make Marketing strategies more relevant to the customers and prospects they seek to engage.

1

Actionable data will be key.
Your marketing is only as powerful as the (actionable) data at your fingertips – you need an agile marketing solution that can capture and respond to customer behaviours in real time rather than making large investments in data warehousing. Marketers today have to manage multiple channels and touch points with targeted content. But very few have a single view of customer interactions across touch points and interaction history.

Brands should take advantage of the web more to communicate with customers. Savvy marketers will understand who the website visitors are, how they have interacted and where they are in the buying cycle. This data can be deployed to improve web experiences for users and prospects.

2

Being relevant won’t be enough...
we have to be good at identifying or creating ‘seducable’ moments. The triggers for such moments could either be personal, such as an anniversary or birthday, or it could be brand relationship related, such as an anniversary since the first purchase, the 10th transaction, the 100th customer, etc. Whatever it takes, create compelling reasons for customers to keep visiting the brand’s store.

3

The Rules of customer service are re-defined.
Effective and immediate customer service will be the key to creating loyalty and stickiness. And by this I don’t mean traditional methods like a helpdesk, relationship executives, etc. Consumers today want and expect immediate response to issues. Referring to online retail again, if the shoe size you bought does not fit, the process to exchange or refund has been simplified so returns are fulfilled within 24 hours and shoppers have to do nothing about it. A man comes to the home, delivers the new shoe and takes the old away. No fuss! The customer is hooked and primed for the next purchase.

4

Look before you leap...into a Loyalty program.
The investment a company needs to make to launch a successful loyalty program is not insignificant and to abort a program midway would be disastrous as customer expectations would have risen and an early exit would destroy that equity. Brands need to do their homework well on three areas before deciding to launch a loyalty program. First, does the return on investment justify the program; second, is there buy-in from top management for the program and related budgets; and three, is there meaningful program differentiation from the competition. If the answer to all three is yes, only then should a company invest in a Loyalty Program.

5

Move fast to tap opportunities before they slip away
Remember, barriers to exit for consumers have dropped in many industries, especially online. If you cannot catch customer interest in the first few moments, shoppers will move on to a competitive brand. An old communication lesson for attention capture is: A is the B that does C for me. It still holds true, but now you need to communicate it in the first 15 seconds on an e-commerce site. Also, products in ‘Shopping Cart’ not purchased or products in ‘My Wishlist’ are opportunities to re-market to customers. But these need to be done in real-time and with sufficient seduction to be able to re-capture the consumers’ interest.

6

Adoption of Location based marketing...
...will increase in 2018. Everyone has been toying with this concept for years, but somehow there’s still little consensus about how to use it for a better customer experience. The time has come for GPS/geo-location based mobile applications that can enable customers to locate brand’s stores, find out what offers are running, inform the outlet when they plan to visit and for what. This could enable stores to keep customer requirements ready and save them time, which everyone needs more of. The goal is all about increasing personalisation and convenience and reducing effort.

7

Buyer intelligence will no longer be limited to just high net worth clients.
Remember the traditional 80:20 rule? Well, it does not strictly apply anymore when it comes to budget allocations. Revenue is not the only key variable when it comes to segmentation, ‘relevance’ is more important than years of association and ‘adoption of new products’ is more important than a single high-value purchase. Revenue will still be the most significant variable but there are other variables that will define today’s high-value customers.

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