Fast food game stamps, cereal boxtops, airline frequent flyer miles, and punchcards of nearly every type – are all early forms of loyalty. Over time, customer loyalty programs have evolved and rely more on technology than ever before. But the concept has virtually stayed the same: give customers more of what they want and reward them for repeat business, and they will keep coming back.
With the advent of mobile devices and the explosion of eCommerce, it’s more important than ever to build loyalty into technology and overall design so that your program is easy to use and simple for the customer.
When building loyalty into payments, if you stick to the basics, it’s easier than you might think. What makes a customer choose your business over a competitor is the overall shopping and checkout experience, not the technology. But technology plays a big part in the customer experience.
How do you know if your loyalty solution is right?
By easy, we mean the route that takes the least effort. For example, one-click shopping, one-click payments, and the ability to surf, browse and pay, all with the touch of a button. Using a loyalty program must be as easy as pulling out a credit card, debit card or cash. Anything more complicated and you risk losing your customer.
Customers should have the same experience no matter how they're shopping. Whether they’re shopping online, shopping via a mobile app, or purchasing from your brick and mortar store, they want a consistent and intuitive experience.
You're focused on customers who are most likely to engage with your business. Automated data collection provides a wealth of knowledge and insight into shopper’s preferences and buying habits. Use this insight to conveniently channel targeted content and promotions to customers who are in-store or proximate via their mobile phone.
Another benefit of using automated data collection is that it speeds up the experience and makes it less cumbersome for both the merchant and the customer. When the intelligence is built into the design, the clerk may not have to ask customers for their information or take additional steps to activate customers’ loyalty benefits.
Tokenization and encryption methods help to close vulnerabilities in card payment transactions. To customers, payment methods must be safe and security must be of little to no concern. They need to feel like they’re using the latest, best technology.
As humans, we're wired to like rewards. Even if your program includes all of the above, there must be a reason to keep your customers coming back. That’s where rewards kick in. Programs that include incremental rewards and free stuff that your customers value makes your program more rewarding than other loyalty programs.
Technology is moving so rapidly that is seems impossible to keep pace with new developments. Focus on the basics and work with a payments partner who can help you navigate the complexity and ease the burden of setting up a new loyalty program.