Understanding Loyalty Card Systems

by Natasha Ambavle |

Understanding Loyalty Card Systems

Loyalty Card System

The loyalty system dates back to the 18th Century when American retailers started giving out copper coins to their customers, which could be redeemed on their next purchase. This marketing strategy gained traction, and copper coins were first replaced with tokens and then stamps. Today, loyalty programs are represented either in the form of plastic … Read more

When Loyal Meets Social

social engagements

The most effective loyalty programs are those where loyalty meets social; where customers engage with and transact with their favorite brands. Annex Cloud has been advising clients and helping them build loyalty strategies that include both components for years. Over the years we’ve seen some customers set on building only transactional program. We’re happy to share … Read more

The New Look of Loyalty, Making Loyalty Easy for B2B & B2C Growth

loyalty strategy

For years, I’ve heard marketers tell me – “Loyalty is hard.” “Loyalty takes time”. “Loyalty is too expensive”. “Loyalty is too difficult to get approved by my CFO”.

For years, loyalty has been anything but “easy”. Now it can be. & Now it should be. Organizations need to be using loyalty concepts and loyalty technology in order to deliver on their personalization and growth goals.

How can loyalty be easy?

2 reasons:

  1. Loyalty technology is finally being built in a modularized extensible way providing users extreme flexibility of features in a nimble environment supported by existing integrations with the technologies in your tech stack.
  2. Loyalty initiatives can be as easy as a simple commitment to a value exchange. The modularized way the technology is built, organizations are no longer forced into programmatic loyalty with points, tiers, etc.

Why now?

Now, because the world is changing and organizations need loyalty. They need loyalty for two reasons 1) to keep customers during economic uncertainty and 2) to collect and use customer data.  The changes in the privacy laws mean less dependence on 3rd party data creating an increased demand for zero and first-party data.

Loyalty is the fastest and most effective path to both.

The New Look of Loyalty

Consider your loyalty strategy as a build.

Start with a simple value exchange:
The foundation of a loyalty strategy is a committed value exchange.

  • You commit to your customer to being a good steward of their data and deliver relevant personalized experiences.
  • In exchange, they give you their data and they promise to identify themselves at all touchpoints.
  • With this joint commitment, you are able to collect the information necessary to understand the customer and deliver hyper-personalized relevant experiences.

Next, as you learn about your customer base, learn what’s important, learn what motivates you can add more loyalty tactics.

Consider adding engagement strategies. Have customers write reviews. Have customers share their experiences on social. Add in a game, rewarding customers who do these activities.

Now that you’re engaging customers you can add in motivators for more and larger transactions. This is where developing tiers and/or point features come in. These tactics are proven in driving new and additional behaviors.  Setting tiers, that are higher than where various segments are spending, will entice people to spend more to reach the new tier in order to unlock new benefits, experiences, or offers.

Taking a building up approach to a loyalty strategy, allows you to:

  • Include your entire customer base in the strategy
  • Strategically and surgically add benefits and rewards to customer segments most deserved of these benefits.
  • To learn as you go and not overcommit at the beginning.

Annex Cloud has the experts and the technology to support loyalty your way. We’re here to advise and lead you to the loyalty initiative that best fits your organization, goals, and customers whether your organization sells B2B or B2C.

How A Global Pandemic Changed the Way Companies Do Business?

Global Pandemic Changed

Moving into the new year, we all tend to take an inventory of the prior year, assess what we’ve learned, and determine what’s worth bringing with us to the future. Never before has everyone so desperately embraced the new year, running fast and trying not to look back. As much as we all want to put 2020 in the far rearview mirror, there were significant changes that are here to stay. It’s important for us to recognize and embrace these changes because they aren’t going anywhere.

We saw economic changes, changes in the business environment, and in the way organizations communicate & connect with customers.

Economic changes

Halfway through 2020 we officially entered a recession, though, as experts say, very different than what we saw in 2008. The governmental aid in the US and other policy has helped people sustain at levels higher than 2008.  Additionally, the pain felt by the recession has not been equal, grocery retail and other verticals have seen strong surges while travel, entertainment, and food service remain significantly hindered.

Business environment changes

Never before have we seen organizations scramble and pivot as we did in 2020. Of course, never before did global consumer behavior change so rapidly. This change forced organizations to move swiftly, especially swiftly into digital. Prior to 2020, we were talking about the $1B in spend on digital, yet how the majority of companies admitted to misspending on digital. The early investments made were not successful. Companies still lacked the right tools to deliver the right experiences to their customers. When COVID changed people’s behaviors, organizations were forced to quickly evaluate their digital strategy and focus on how to do the basics: get products into customers’ hands fast.

We saw global companies like Godiva develop and launch an app within 90 days. We saw grocers of all sizes figure out how to take and deliver orders. Most, creating websites in less than 60 days. We saw restaurants move from dining into a curbside pick-up.

We’ve been talking for years about enhancing the customer experience, seemingly overnight, organizations listened, responded, pivoted, and delivered (literally!).

Communication Changes

In addition to pivoting to successful digital, curbside pickup and delivery, organizations scrambled to connect with their customers. Similar to 2008, organizations recognized that their customers are their greatest asset. Assets that need to be protected. We’re seeing a surge in retention efforts. Plus, coupled with new digital solutions, organizations are now able to communicate with customers on a much more personal level than they were able to do in the past. Many organizations scrambled to institute a loyalty strategy, others have prioritized loyalty in 2021.

Reflecting on these changes, it’s easy to see that they are all here to stay. Customers enjoying the convenience of curbside pickup, new easy-to-use apps and even delivery will continue to use these services. Prior to 2020, we were noticing how protective consumers were of their time. Time has become a commodity as valuable as money.  Ask a consumer – do you want dollars off or your groceries delivered? You’ll see an audience spilt.

These changes are here to stay making loyalty and experience imperative strategies for organizations to be successful in 2021 and beyond. Know your customer, understand your customers and inspire them to stay connected and continue purchasing with you.

Annex Clouds’ Loyalty Experience Manager™ will help you build those necessary customer relationships using first-party data to hyper-personalized communications at every touchpoint. Contact us today to discuss your goals and how together we can make your brand beloved by your customers.

Loyalty is a Requirement for All Businesses, just ask 2022

loyalty programs

Have you noticed the trend?

In good times we spend on advertising and events. We spend on the fun and exciting. We spend on the memorable messaging. Boy, do we spend!

In bad times, budgets get cut, customers go away, the lack of sustainable opportunity from our advertising spend is painfully obvious. We scramble. We shift our spending. We shift our talent. We focus on our existing customers. We pivot to loyalty.

Many are thinking, bad times don’t come that often, my focus on acquisition invalid and justified. Think again. Recessionary events happen every 10 years. Yet, each time they take us by surprise.

When the pandemic hit, businesses with marginal or no insight into loyal buyer behavior struggled to adequately plan resources.

What organizations don’t always realize is that a strong loyalty strategy helps grow the business overall. Strong loyalty strategies deliver customer experiences that go viral, bringing in new customers in addition to retaining existing; making loyalty your most important business requirement.

Loyalty’s Day in the Sun

When the pandemic hit, organizations with loyalty programs fared far better than those who didn’t. In general, loyalty programs will help you sustain sales from your core customer base (which is ~80% of your business). Restaurants with loyalty programs and had a way to communicate with their loyal customers, we’re able to tap these people, give them the information they needed to trust the restaurant, and keep dining – even if that meant curbside pick-up and dining at home.

Any other industry, hit by the pandemic the way the travel industry was hit, would have become obsolete. Yet that hasn’t happened to the major travel organizations. Yes, they have received government funding. But what has really been sustaining these organizations is their loyal customers and their customer loyalty programs. Airline loyalty programs actually generate revenue, in addition to the revenue generated by customers purchasing tickets. Their partnerships with credit card companies and other organizations bring in revenue outside their core value proposition.

It’s time to make Customer loyalty a priority in your organization. Annex Cloud and our extensive partner network will make it easy for you to build strong bonds with your customers through hyper-personalized relevant customer experiences. Call us today to start planning your strategy.

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