They say the sales results you see in Q4 come from the work you do in Q1. With the new year right around the corner, retailers everywhere are finalizing their strategy. Perhaps you’re considering a customer loyalty program or you have one but want to see more growth. Have you and your team implemented a customer loyalty program that will not only increase your average order value but also help you foster long-term loyalty with your customers? Do you have a referral marketing plan to help you expand your growing community? Does your business have a UGC solution to build credibility and conversions?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, then we need to talk. The customer marketing landscape is changing, and this is why you should prepare.
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Why is Customer Loyalty so important?
Amazon accounts for 49% of all ecommerce sales, according to a report by TechCrunch. With about half of the market share already claimed, retailers everywhere are thinking of better ways to acquire and retain customers. The problem is that Amazon’s features like peer reviews and free shipping have created a sense of entitlement among consumers. That means ecommerce brands everywhere need to get creative with their marketing and retention.
“Our brand followers are the most loyal users of our products, which means incentivizing them for their behavior is so very important,” said Al Lalani, Chief Strategist of Annex Cloud. “Whether it’s connecting on social media or referring people, rewarding people for social actions is a pivotal trend and will continue to progress in 2019.”
When you advertise your products against hundreds of competing products on sites like Amazon, Walmart, and Google Shopping, it’s tough to stand out among the crowd. According to CommerceHub, 86% of purchasers changing channels when buying online, making it that much harder to keep customers’ attention. By implementing an omni-channel loyalty program where customers are offered personalized incentives, retailers are able to see a measurable difference in sales.
What Experts are Saying
“Our sharing, or collaborative culture, impacts the world of storytelling. People are putting more trust in others they know and reputable content, not ads. As brands approach storytelling in the year ahead, it will be vitally important for them to partner with brand loyalists, advocates and influencers that authentically stand behind an organization and what it represents.” -Billee Howard, Writer at Forbes
“We don’t hear customers talk about channels very much. Customers value experiences, and so the more successful we are in creating a great shopping experience, no matter how they’re choosing to shop, the better our business will be.” -James Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom
“Retailers generally focus on growing sales and less so on how to develop long-term customer loyalty. Consumers are spending more of their income on must-haves such as healthcare and retirement. Which means it’s crucial that retailers actively develop emotional loyalty with customers that will withstand economic changes over time.” -Fiona Swerdlow, VP of Research at Forrester
Tech Trends in 2019
New tech is emerging every day that can can take your business’ customer service efforts to the next level. Features like data integrations and segmentation can make measurable differences in performance of your loyalty program. And because the marketing landscape is continuously changing, here are a few of the biggest trends to pay attention to:
- Artificial Intelligence: The deep learning that we’re able to do by analyzing existing sales data is astounding. We use personalization and artificial intelligence to create hyper-segmented marketing campaigns. With that, we’re able to find a much greater ROI and the ability to predict future incentives based on buying behavior.
- Mobile Wallet: Mobile wallets are an emerging trend in loyalty right now. Though adoption is still relatively low, its projections for the coming years are tremendous. Once fully implemented, people will no longer have to carry credit cards into stores, and all loyalty points will be accounted right inside the customer’s phone. Mobile payment options like Venmo and Paypal becoming more relevant so people are becoming less reliant on physical currency.
- Blockchain Technology: Blockchain is becoming more and more popular in ecommerce. Some say it’s because there are fewer transaction costs and enhanced security. It’s a trend we expect big things from, and it’s an exciting time to see it emerge.
Why Now is the Time to Plan
As 2018 comes to a close, it’s important to reflect on the current strategy and to plan to improve it. What does your year-over-year sales growth look like? What’s your growth plan to increase average order value and repeat purchase rate? Is your loyalty program leveraging the latest tech to help you boost your KPIs?
These are the types of questions to ask yourself when measuring the effect of your loyalty strategy. Because 2019 is expecting more growth in the ecommerce space, right now is the time to plan, design, and implement your customer loyalty program. Request a demo now to help you see major results in the coming year!