It’s a daunting task. You read review after review, compare features, check pricing, customization, integrations, the list goes on… We get it, choosing a customer loyalty program is overwhelming! Does it bring your company real return? Does it configure to your unique business model? Can it integrate with your ecommerce platform? All of these are valid questions. That is why we’re here with the buyers’ guide to choosing the right customer loyalty solution!
Did you know it can cost upwards of five times more to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one? Retention is a constant struggle for retailers. And with half of ecommerce sales happening through Amazon, all other brands online are scurrying for the remaining market share. This lack of brand trust is creating a huge issue for consumers. Luckily, we’re here to discuss popular retention strategies, such as creating a branded customer experience.
“We are constantly fighting that battle of acquiring the same customer over and over again,” said Al Lalani, Chief Strategist at Annex Cloud. “People have less trust in brands nowadays, thus causing more churn. It would be great to not have to battle and instead build a true relationship with the customer through retention.”
Before we dive into what to buy, let’s first talk about what NOT to buy. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all loyalty solution. Though one solution cannot fix all of your problems, a basic rewards app lays the groundwork to your loyalty strategy.
The problem with this basic plug-and-play model is it’s very limited in scope, does not scale with businesses, and can’t support customizable rewards like more advanced programs. Due to it’s lack of customizability, it’s limiting in advanced software integrations and in creating a unique brand experience.
A plug-and-play system means managing your own account without all of the key metrics you need to gain better insight into customer behavior. It also means no customer service, just a software subscription without much consultation. Adding things like customizable rewards specific to your business model and customer loyalty analytics to track consumer behavior can make a huge impact.
When it comes to building a customer loyalty program, they key is differentiating your rewards & incentivization strategy. Because your customers love your brand, they love to see customized rewards surrounding your brand. Your brand is an experience, therefore your rewards should expand beyond basic points-for-purchase.
Our client Brahmin does this well, customers are able to purchase their artisan leather goods with enough points collected through the program. Other unique rewards include: surprise perks, early access to collections, exclusive shopping events, and much more. By integrating these rewards into their customer loyalty program, they’re able to not only increase repeat purchase rate, but increase average order value and overall sales conversions as well.
Designing a loyalty program with a strong omni-channel strategy helps to create a more seamless customer experience. For optimal results, we highly recommend catering your omni-channel strategy to match your core branding. It’s about having a consistent brand message across all channels, from your website to social media and even your email strategy. By marketing your loyalty program through exclusive rewards events and integrating it into your signage and POS, you’re extending that experience from site to store.
The biggest issue with plug-and-play is that it often limits rewardable actions to just buying. Though points-for-purchase is the underlying foundation of a customer loyalty program, we can now reward for social and behavioral actions. Those actions include: writing a review, tagging a brand in social media posts, and even subscribing to a brand’s content. It’s amazing to see how the scope of loyalty has evolved.
“Our brand followers are the most loyal users of our products, which means incentivizing them for their behavior is so very important,” said Lalani. “Whether it’s connecting on social media or referring people, rewarding people for social actions is a pivotal trend and will continue to progress.”
There are many loyalty providers out there, but Annex Cloud combines customer loyalty, referral marketing, and user-generated content all under one unified platform! Your most loyal customers are your best allies when it comes to your marketing strategy. Whether through reviews on your website, photos of consumers using your products, or Q&A; new customers trust peer experience over anything else. Strong referral marketing implementation is critical in the same way; we as consumers trust our friends over any other source when it comes to consumer goods and retail. This is why it is important to not only reward those who are being referred, but to reward those who are doing the referring as well.
There are key integrations that allow all of your systems to work in harmony. For optimal results, you should integrate these four main software with your loyalty program: ecommerce platform, point of sale system, email service provider, and your retail app. By pairing all of these systems, you’re allowing your data to flow more seamlessly while designing a better customer experience overall.
Now that you know what you need in a customer loyalty program, you have everything you need to get started! We went over why customer retention is so important, what NOT to look for in a loyalty program, and what to know when making your selection. We also learned that consumers are more enthused to repeat their purchasing behavior when influenced by unique incentives and experiences.
Are you ready to increase your average order value and begin to see true loyalty from your customers? Annex Cloud’s unified platform with customer loyalty, referral marketing, and UGC solutions may be the right solution for you! If you need more advice, we’re for you! Contact us here and someone would be happy to reach out!