Facebook Rewards and the Omni-Channel Loyalty Landscape

by Sean Ogino |

Facebook Rewards and the Omni-Channel Loyalty Landscape

Keeping true to its innovative spark, Facebook has started testing mobile retail rewards. To improve connection between participating businesses and their customers, the social media giant is focusing on rolling out a mobile feature called Facebook Rewards, where users can scan a personalized QR code to score discounts or bonuses when they buy something in-person at certain shops. According to sources, Facebook has said that this recent advancement of Facebook Rewards feature will enable customers to collect and redeem rewards when they make purchases at a participating store. Facebook Rewards will be tucked away under the More tab of the Facebook mobile app.

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The most striking aspect of Facebook Rewards is that instead of giving an offer code to scan, it assigns a single personal QR code to each customer, which he can scan everywhere. This is quite a new approach considering that marketers have always used loseable cards or new apps altogether for such functionalities. But a single personal QR code signifies that Facebook Rewards will be positioned as a key building block of loyalty marketing.

The Rationale Behind Facebook Rewards

It’s aptly clear that Facebook doesn’t just want users to tap on ads- it wants them to head to the store. And this will help it to prove its worth to both Facebook users and retailers. It’s directly beneficial for consumers, as they can earn discounts just for being Facebook users. Similarly, marketers and retailers can expect higher customer footfall due to the allure of special offers that Facebook Rewards puts in front of its users.

Owing to the jaw-dropping reach that Facebook has among global masses, it can command a high price through ad revenue from marketers. The feature will also allow Facebook to have more data on who buys what, which it can use to improve the relevance of ad targeting and News Feed content. Note that Facebook works with data providers like Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai to index people’s offline purchases.

Another reason that might have propelled the social media giant to come up with Facebook Rewards is competition. Other social media networks are not ready to turn the tap off on the flow of cash that brick-and-mortar advertisers offer. Snap Inc is trying hard to bridge the gap between its users and advertisers with physical stores, hotels, restaurants, and the like. It’s become well-known for its geotargeting program. Through this program’s Geofilters ads, Snapchat users can overlay special graphics related to a business over their photos and videos when they’re nearby. Through “Snap to Store” program, users can share this info with businesses. Twitter is already ahead in this regard, as it has been offering mobile coupons programs since 2014. Clearly, Facebook couldn’t stay inactive.

But the point that needs to analyze here is that this isn’t the first time that Facebook has toyed with in-store discounts. In 2012, it launched Facebook Offers, which allowed a special barcode and promo code that’s either scanned at the shop or entered in the online checkout flow.

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Even though, as per Facebook’s confession, it was a big hit, it came at a point when omni-channel shopping experiences were still in their infancy. Many people called it a flash in a pan, as buying from multiple devices and channels was not considered necessary. But the changing technological landscape of business, which has resulted in a surge in connectivity devices and customers’ genuine need to have a seamless experience across all channels, built up the strong case for omni-channel.

IDC data shows that multi-channel customers spend 15% to 30% more than single-channel customers, and additional data reveals that omni-channel customers spend 15% to 30% above multi-channel customers. Facebook Rewards- a sort of revamped form of Facebook Offers- is indeed an acknowledgment of the evident impact of omni-channel strategies, particularly that of omni-channel loyalty.

Just like Facebook, we are well aware of omni-channel’s multi-pronged ability to enhance program members’ shopping experiences as well as a program’s operational efficiency. To let marketers thrive in this environment with a minimal resource investment, we have come up with a technological advancement called the Native Receipt Scanning.

The Native Receipt Scanning Importance:

As it’s an indisputable fact that people shop through multiple channels, for marketers it’s necessary to have granular data of all of its customers’ purchases. This is possible for businesses who have direct contact with the end buyers. For other businesses who rely on third parties for sales, like CPG brands, it can be hugely daunting. Even if they try to collect data from those multiple sources and touchpoints, it will be marred by silos and inconstancy. This data deficiency can put a lump in their walk towards proper and effective communication with customers, optimizing upsells, increasing repeat purchase rate, and launching new products.

The Native Receipt Scanning throws cold water on that burning problem of data deficiency by allowing loyalty program members to submit receipts to brands in order to get points for purchases. There are three ways to accomplish that:

  • Receipt scanning with a camera phone and mobile upload
  • SMS receipt forwarding
  • Email receipt forwarding

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Scanned physical receipts will be processed with optical character recognition (OCR). Data pieces collected through these receipts get stored in our database with the assistance of our auto-processing API. As every detail of their purchase is in front of us, the task of allocating loyalty points to customers becomes much simpler. Customers can redeem accumulated loyalty points with third-party sellers through branded app barcode scanning, packaging inserts, and QR codes. Up to 20% of an in-store audience will sign up for a brand’s loyalty program thanks to the convenience of the Native Receipt Scanning.

Compared to Facebook Rewards and other omni-channel loyalty solutions, the Native Receipt Scanning has another clear advantage. Through instant identification and processing of receipts, brands will be able to get complete information of more customers who have been buying from different retailers. If, for example, a shopper purchases 2 of your products and 5 other products from one of your retail partners, you’ll be able to see which other products they bought, how much they spent, where and when they bought, and more. This creates an amazing opportunity for insights and optimizing everything from packaging to merchandising to marketing and more!

The Native Receipt Scanning and Facebook Rewards are clear indicators of the importance of omni-channel loyalty strategies. It’ll be fascinating to see how this field shifts next!

[White Paper]
[White Paper]