Build a Restaurant Loyalty Program That Actually Works

by Grace Miller |

Build a Restaurant Loyalty Program That Actually Works

Restaurant Loyalty Program

Suppose it is a weekend and you are planning to go out with your friends and dear ones. You have many options to choose from: watch a movie, a long drive, or dining at a restaurant. Suddenly you realize that a restaurant has a special offer where you can get discounts on menu items. As … Read more

Segmentation and Targeting for Customer Retention and Loyalty


“Market segmentation is a natural result of the differences among people.” – Donald A Norman Every customer has different motivations, needs, and desires. Treating every customer as a separate individual and marketing your loyalty program which aligns with their interest will strengthen their loyalty. However, it is practically not feasible to design a target loyalty … Read more

Optimizing Customer Loyalty Solutions for Digital Markets

Optimizing Customer Loyalty Solutions

“Going digital” in 2020 is not just an exercise to be discussed later, but a mandatory requirement if businesses want to survive and thrive in a competitive environment. Especially in a pandemic-hit world, traditional brick-and-mortar businesses realized how important it is to be digitally established. In fact, many companies have thrived by putting all their … Read more

Loyalty Is a Leading Factor in Commercial Success

loyalty is a leading factor

“There is a huge difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer.” -Shep Hyken Good companies become great companies with customer loyalty. Many studies have linked customer loyalty to be directly proportional to profitability. Companies who have profitably sustained themselves for decades do not tinker with their core competencies too much. They prefer going … Read more

Hotel Loyalty Program Is Proven to Grow Your Hotel Business by 50%

Hotel loyalty program

When American Airlines launched its rewards program (AAdvantage) in the early 1980s, it gave rise to rampant loyalty programs in the hospitality industry, including the hotel industry. Since then, the hotel loyalty program has seen a meteoric rise because of its mammoth returns. But fast forward 2020, and the world saw lockdowns on an unprecedented … Read more

Annex Cloud Recognized as 2019 Leader by G2 as Best Loyalty Management Software

Best Loyalty Management Software in 2019 _ G2

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been recognized as a 2019 Leader by G2 in the area of Loyalty Management. G2 is a software review site that gives brands the ability to find the best software solutions for their needs. The site ranks each software by collecting user submitted reviews and comparing them to other … Read more

Annex Cloud’s Scott Hawkyard Discusses Influencer Marketing at ShopTalk

influencer marketing shoptalk

Our Events team has been crazy busy to start 2019! We left Palm Springs for eTail West and went straight to Las Vegas this week for ShopTalk! Scott Hawkyard, Senior Product Specialist here at Annex Cloud, gave a great presentation on Influencer Marketing to Leverage for Your Brand. He went into the levels of influence … Read more

How to Maximize Your User Generated Content Strategy

user generated content

Whether it’s photos of restaurant dishes or product reviews on Amazon; customers are evangelizing and advertising for brands all the time, for free. User generated content represents the innumerable ways in which a customer interacts with your brand. Implementing a strong user generated content strategy helps your company build credibility with existing and potential customers … Read more

Why We Love Experiential Rewards in 2019

customer experience annex cloud

These days, the best customer loyalty programs go way beyond the scope of the traditional points-for-purchase model. In fact, savvy customers often approach loyalty programs with skepticism, that perhaps rewards are a little too good to be true. It’s all about how you approach the program and what you plan to get out of it. … Read more

Let’s Talk: Enterprise Loyalty Programs for Retail Brands

enterprise loyalty programs

Welcome back to our favorite segment, Let’s Talk! This is where thought leaders in ecommerce and retail discuss topics surrounding our industry. In this installment, our Chief Strategist Al Lalani speaks about enterprise loyalty programs for retail brands. As retailers grow, their needs become more unique to the brand. This is especially true in the … Read more

7 Steps to Referral Marketing Success

referral marketing

In this age of information overload, 82% of customers are making purchase decisions based on recommendations from their friends and family. While brands and retailers have many different ways of earning these recommendations, many are finding the benefits of referral marketing by tapping into their customers’ networks. By offering customers incentives for referring your brand … Read more

Let’s Talk: Leveraging User Generated Content

User generated content

  We’re really excited to bring back our “Let’s Talk” segment, where experts in marketing and loyalty come to discuss industry trends. This week, our Chief Strategist Al Lalani discusses best practices in user generated content. What are some practical strategies for optimizing your UGC? What do trends in peer recognition tell us? With 47% … Read more

The “Makeup” of Sephora’s Marketing Strategy

Sephora's Marketing Strategy

It’s no mystery that Sephora has seen major wins in the beauty industry. Since 1969, this cosmetics brand has sold millions of units in retail stores worldwide and continues to thrive today. But what is it about Sephora’s marketing strategy that sets them apart from similar companies like Ulta and Glossier? What is it about them that other brands just can’t keep up with? The short answer is loyalty. More specifically,  how they use personalized loyalty to build a community of beauty advocates.

Unique Customer Loyalty Structure

What differentiates Sephora’s marketing strategy is its approach to rewards. Though they do have a points-for-purchase model, there is so much more that goes into it. For example, in their rewards bazaar, they have new incentives every Tuesday and Thursday and customers can browse a massive gallery of available products. And their unique collection offers limited edition and exclusive product releases solely for its rewards members. With more perks like free makeovers and complimentary birthday samples, it’s easy to see why so many beauty enthusiasts rave about Sephora.

Sephora's Marketing StrategyTo get a better understanding of why people are so loyal to the brand, I asked long-time customer and beauty enthusiast Erin Duff her thoughts on Sephora. “I’ve been a Sephora member for over 11 years and it’s because they have such high quality products from so many different brands. I love that you have the option to spend a few rewards points for a sample of something or save up and get big like a custom makeover.”

User Generated Content

Sephora has set the standard as far as what cosmetic brands should be doing with their user generated content. Take the Insider Beauty Community, for example. It consists of forums surrounding beauty tips, live chats with influencers, and stunning photo galleries. But what I think they do really well in UGC is visual commerce. With many gated channels like Makeup is Life and Best Hair Ever, users are able to post and see pictures to help them guide their purchase decisions. All of this has helped grow Sephora grow and sustain a massive presence with over 15 million subscribers on their website and social media.

Omni-Channel Loyalty

Whether it’s online sales, in-store, or at events, Sephora uses creative ways to retain its customers among all channels. They do a great job of advertising their loyalty program to their network and it’s evident by their impressive online sales and growing list of retail locations. Their unique spin on omni-channel is the work they do with live events. They are constantly advertising beauty classes, makeover events, and of course their epic annual conference Sephoria.

Sephora's Marketing StrategySephoria is a one-of-a-kind live forum where influencers, patrons, and celebrities all collaborate and discuss what’s happening in beauty. Their events and creative marketing strategies help reach a more engaged community and turn Sephora’s avid followers into brand advocates. “By fostering personal connections and generating brand love over the years, it’s only natural that we leverage their input and further strengthen our program beyond just perks and discounts,” says Deborah Yeh, senior vice president of marketing and brand at Sephora.

Sephora’s network is continuing to grow and there’s a reason for that. They have implemented many of the right marketing and loyalty strategies to not only grow their customer base, but to retain it as well. Annex Cloud believes that the right combination of customer loyalty, user-generated content, and omni-channel strategies are the keys to retention. We work with many similar beauty and fashion brands and use loyalty to help them nurture and build real relationships with their customers. If you have any questions about marketing or loyalty, contact us or schedule a consultation today!

Why Omni-Channel Loyalty Brings the Best ROI

omni-channel loyalty

Omni-channel loyalty can be the difference between life and death for a business. While plenty of customers will sign up for rewards, not all will return. Consumers opt for loyalty experiences that personalize, incentivize, and engage. Recent changes to the traditional points-for-purchase programs have forced companies to seek out new consumer loyalty solutions that not only meet current technological requirements for marketing programs, but also provide consumers with a consistent, quality brand experience. Implementation of such programs is a major investment for brands, which is why choosing the best type of loyalty solution is crucial. That being said, let us dive deeper into why omni-channel loyalty will help you leverage the greatest return.

Why Is Omni-Channel Loyalty Important?

The goal of omni-channel loyalty is to allow businesses to control and smoothly integrate everything from their POS system to social media. Creating and distributing consistent branding online and offline helps create a uniform experience while reaching consumers who may never step foot into your establishment. You can advertise products while nurturing customer relationships and even help you develop a customer loyalty program that works both online and in-store. According to Nielsen, Americans spend 11 hours per day engaging in electronic media which means the digital realm is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Imagine being able to connect to your customers from anywhere; an omni-channel system allows your advertisements to be displayed for print, games, mobile, kiosks, etc.
omni-channel loyalty

Modern Consumer Behavior:

The modern consumer is used to channel hopping. As stated by CommerceHub, 86% of shoppers change channels on a regular basis. A consumer may search for a purchase on their laptop, check pricing on their phone, and pick up the product in-store. If a problem arises with fulfillment, that consumer will be less likely to return. Because modern consumers are unforgiving of brand mistakes, Iterable claims 47% of people switch to competitors after a poor customer experience. Omni-channel in this context reduces the risk of customer loss and also delivers the experience that modern consumers have come to expect.

A study by SDL shows that 60% of millennial shoppers want a consistent experience on their phone and 72% of adults prefer to receive digital communication. A typical consumer who has issues opening a loyalty email or advertisement on their phone will quickly become frustrated with their experience. Ensuring omni-channel compatibility will prevent frustrations, help you retain consumer interest, and ultimately help you increase revenue.

Core Omni-Channel Strategy:

Because omni-channel loyalty spans across all media, we’d like to review the major touch points that businesses tend to focus on and what makes up a good collaborative strategy.


The benefits of omni-channel means you can implement a single strategy that spans across your website, social media, and email campaigns. It allows you to seamlessly combine your loyalty program with your visual commerce and other consumer dependent campaigns. This gives you an easy way to gather reviews and leverage UGC for promoting your brand.


Having strong in-store signage is crucial in a retail store, just as important as basic strategies are for encouraging customers to sign up for rewards. Some companies have even included digital maps of their store to help consumers better navigate. Such maps are also convenient for shoppers who need to quickly locate items, which helps increase loyalty and decrease in-store cart abandonment.

Third Party:

Omni-channel compatibility allows your consumers to redeem rewards on products that have been purchased from third parties. The rewards serve a dual purpose: not only do they strengthen connection between the consumer and your brand, but they also help you track how your brand is performing with other stores and retailers.

Annex Cloud believes that when applied to loyalty marketing, the omni-channel approach contributes more toward outreach, sales, and data than any other strategy. Once you synchronize your message, you can help decrease consumer loss, increase average order value, and ultimately see the best ROI. If you need any help on omni-channel or how to implement it into your loyalty solution, talk to an Annex Cloud consultant today!

The Most Valuable Types of Loyal Customers

the most valuable types of loyal customers

The success of any business largely depends on how long customers, whether existing or newly acquired ones, stay with it. Customers often become more profitable over time and loyal customers account for an unusually high proportion of the sales and profit growth of successful businesses. 

To drive the point home…

Not all loyal customers are the same, though. Their further segmentation is possible. Customers may be classified into five categories based on their loyalty to your brand. In fact, this segmentation is necessary. You may be able to devise a separate loyalty strategy for each of the categories.

types of loyal customersHardcore Loyal Customers

These are the ideal types of customers that every business wants to have. They genuinely love everything about your brand…then be it a brand persona, product or customer service. They take pride in associating themselves with your brand.

Due to their high regard for your brand, they are the readymade material for becoming your brand advocates. They will promote your brand with heart! If you’re lucky enough to have hardcore loyal customers, you should consider devising a program to both thank them for their support and encourage them to share the word about your business.

Borderline Loyal Customers

These are also known as pseudo-loyal, as their loyalty is not unconditional. They are buying from you either because they don’t have any other option or pricing of your product is within their range. But overall they are quite satisfied with your brand.

As their buying relationship with you hinges upon the availability and price, as soon as some better deal is in the picture, they will leave you quickly. These types of customers are seen more in a monopolistic type of service markets. The important thing to note here is they possess the trait to become your loyal customers. By devising a special loyalty program for them which can give them a fairer and cheaper deal, you can surely hold them for long.

After all, loyalty program members spend 5-20% more than non-members on average.

Split Loyal Customers

These are the people who are loyal to many brands. They will buy from the brand which is giving them the best deal at the moment. Of course, they don’t generate more revenue for you as they are less frequent, but they are not without any value either.

One of the keys to nurturing these split loyal customers is to rope them into a loyalty program. While they won’t be as responsive to it as your hardcore loyal customers or your borderline ones, some will be swayed by discounts. The customer data you gain will also be important for this segment,

Need-Based Loyal Customers

People in this category are driven by a specific need. If you are offering some product which is closest to what they want, they will buy from you. Otherwise, they overlook you. That want might have arrived due to various reasons such as a specific occasion, a specific need, or an absolute price point. Of course, it’s very difficult to retain such customers as they are completely driven by need and convenience, but they can win over by a personal and careful handling by your salespeople. This is especially true for physical stores. They can be transformed into loyal customers if they are getting a treatment and service which isn’t available on internet based stores.


They are not loyal to any one brand. For multiple reasons, they keep changing their brand. Generally, this is the largest segment in terms of traffic. There is very little that you can do about them, as there is no specific reason why they leave you and prefer others. But, they are in large chunk even though they bring very little revenue.

The most you can do is treat them well when they are buying from you. Try to evoke a sense of satisfaction among them through your service and behavior. Outstanding customer experiences are a key differentiator when it comes to nurturing loyalty, after all.

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