Studies like Brand Keys’ 19th Annual Customer Loyalty Engagement Index—which found that customer expectations of brands have grown by almost a third yet brands’ abilities to meet those demands have only increased by 7%–show that keeping shoppers happy is like chasing a moving target. That’s precisely why all manufacturers, including consumer electronics manufacturers, have to think like retailers, where they will get to know a lot more about their audience’s preferred channels, buying habits, and other preferences in order to yield more repeat purchases. One of the most straightforward–and thanks to recent changes in technology, easiest–ways to do this is to implement an electronics loyalty program.
Electronics manufacturers must consider the point, which generally gets overlooked, while deciding what drives loyalty is the experience that consumers (both retailers and end customers) get throughout their buying journey. According to a study from Cognizant, the top three personalization factors that influence purchase behavior are special treatment based on loyalty, acknowledgement of status, and personalized offers. But shoppers don’t want it to be accomplished by a way that is bombastic, monolithic or intrusive. They want it to be done via organic, intuitive, and fun ways—and offered in real time, 24-7-365, regardless of the channel. The only way to touch these elusive expectations is with an omni-channel electronics loyalty model.
Even a glimpse at the current scenario will tell you that your electronics loyalty program needs to meet your shoppers on every channel. People don’t just interact with any product through a physical store. With the avalanche of smartphones, social media, location based technologies, and near filed communication facilities, a whole lot of avenues have opened up for them to interact with your products.
Most manufacturers doesn’t have the luxury of retailers where they get to see the end customers, as people generally don’t go to the factory to get their loyalty rewards. In that way, most manufacturers solely rely on retailers. Thus, it becomes even more imperative for manufacturers to create more possibilities to get engaged at all levels of loyalty. An omni-channel approach of loyalty enables you to do that through the combined framework of print, online, broadcast, mobile, retail point-of-sale, gaming, kiosk, outdoor, direct mail and social media.
For example, Olympus–the famed camera company–sells its products directly to consumers online, but has no brick-and-mortar shops. However, its products are sold in thousands of its retail partners locations. In order to bridge this gap and let Olympus loyalty members enjoy the benefits of the program wherever they shop, Annex Cloud created a rewards tracker app for Olympus’s retailers. Store associates can use it to scan a special loyalty code that every Olympus Rewards member has, so they can use their points in-store.
Another, even newer way of connecting with in-store and online shoppers at your retail partners is with the Receipt Data Aggregator. It enables members in a manufacturer’s omni-channel loyalty program to submit their receipts from retailers back to the manufacturers in order to earn points. They can do this by uploading images online or by forwarding e-receipts via email or text message. Annex Cloud’s auto-processing API then reads the receipts, stores all the information, and awards points to shoppers. The Receipt Data Aggregator is convenient for customers and lets manufacturers gather vital data from another significant touchpoint. They have groundbreaking access to third-party purchase data.
Olympus’s and other electronics loyalty programs give shoppers points for connecting their social media profiles to their loyalty accounts, too. This gives the manufacturers more ways to reach out to loyalty members as well as access to more data, which is extremely helpful in personalizing their marketing.
People always give reverence to relevance. If manufacturers target them with trite and lackluster communication, where they fail to understand what’s in it for them, the ineffectiveness is about to set in. But an omni-channel program is an antidote to this ineffectiveness, as it breaks down all the visible silos across the enterprise. As customers channelize their loyalty program on multiple platforms, manufacturers can extract customer data from all the channels to transform it into a singular view. It bridges the gap between online and offline data.
Once the manufacturer has specific data about customers, which was not the case before due to the myriad layers of retailers, distributors and vendors, they can target customers with relevant promotions, earning opportunities, offers and communications across every channel throughout the entire shopping experience. Its direct consequence is felt on the engagement enhancement, as customers, both retailers and end customers, finally get relevant offers and information.
Note that engaged customers are 23% more profitable while actively disengaged consumers cost 13%, according to Gallup research. This is precisely where an omni-channel loyalty program is different than the traditional one. The latter rewards “spend”, while former rewards “engagement”. This unproductive obsession of rewarding only spend and ignoring engagement can be confirmed from the 2012 Global Loyalty Online Survey, which found that only 37% of respondents defined customer engagement as one of the top-three business objectives for their loyalty campaigns. Clearly, the omni-channel program is a catalyst in shifting the paradigm from spend to much needed engagement.
As we have already discussed, the lines between the various marketing channels are blurring like never before, mainly due to technical upsurges. In these tech-centric times, you can’t afford an erratic and an inconsistent experience. Regardless of the channel through which members are using your loyalty program, everything- and that includes communication, complaint mechanisms, registration, rewards redemption, and rewards dashboards- should be as same as the mirror image. In fact, this is the USP of omni-channel loyalty program. This is the prime reason why it came into existence in the first place, as it was in the accordance with retailers’ and end users’ needs. The following stats highlight this.
The truth is, an omni-channel electronics loyalty program will generate some of the same benefits to the consumer electronics manufacturers that traditional loyalty programs give—behavior tracking and analysis, improved customer engagement, customer acquisition, larger transactions, and repeat purchases.
However, having a truly unified loyalty program really puts your customer experience on a whole new level. Whether it’s enabling customers to have a digital dashboard to know the exact status of their reward points, or allowing customers to redeem their points by going to stores or by sitting at home…everything is just one click away. Considering that 89% of marketers are competing primarily on the basis of customer experience and each 1% improvement in customer experience quality results in an additional $15M to $175M in annual revenues, according to a Forrester report, this deft touch of omni-channel loyalty is like a silver bullet.
Note: We believe that not just omni-channel loyalty, but omni-channel commerce is itself has incredible importance. Read here to for an in-depth look at the definition of omni-channel. Learn everything you need to know about omni-channel referral programs here.