The Australian Loyalty Association held its third annual Customer Engagement and Loyalty Conference last week. Keynote speakers included Bernie Brookes, Former CEO of Myer, David Galt, CEO of Webjet, Neil Thompson, CEO of Velocity, Dr Sean Sands from Monash Business School, Sally McNamara from the VRC and Lewis Pullen from the NRL.
The overarching theme to come from these speakers was that the most effective Loyalty Programs for customer retention are (1) well designed, (2) collect the right customer information and (3) use the data well to deliver a personalised customer experience.
Personalising the customer experience is paramount in maximising the effectiveness of a loyalty program. It builds trust and a higher level of engagement between the brand and the customer, resulting in higher repeat business. This involves looking at the customers transactional history and using the data well to deliver a relevant rewards and communication. For example, the communication with a new customer could be quite different, as you build the relationship, to the message delivered to a high repeat customer where there is an existing relationship. When it came to delivering rewards, the main objective is to surprise and delight the customer, appeal to their aspiration and or deliver money can’t buy experiences.
Nearly all presenters identified digital as the best way to deliver loyalty programs going forward. Digital Loyalty Reward programs provide a lot of timely insight because they can collect a lot of data quickly and categorise and segment it before communicating with the customer. Digital Loyalty programs also deliver a much higher return on investment (ROI) than previous card based systems due to their effectiveness and much lower operating cost. Versatility and timeliness were other major advantages of digital loyalty programs.
Mobile Smartphones was identified as the perfect platform to deliver a Loyalty Rewards program because it is very relevant to today’s consumer. More than 80% of the Australian adult population now carry one and it’s a fast and personal way to deliver a loyalty program. Beacons that directly communicate with the customer in-store were repeatably highlighted as one of the largest opportunities for marketers in future years. The beacons ability to deliver personalised inApp notifications using customer transactional history, based on time and proximity was seen as a very powerful way to personalise the customers loyalty experience in the future.