This month, I’m going to be focusing on loyalty within the modern retail environment – or the lack of it – and how to nurture long-term customer relationships.

Where better to kick off than the issue of omnichannel loyalty. Never before have shoppers been presented with so many choices, available through such a huge range of touch points.

On the one hand, this is great for retailers; they have more ways to reach out to potential customers than ever before. However, creating consistency and relevancy between all of these channels is a nightmare. So what do retailers need to do to ensure their retention strategies are aligned with shopper needs?

  • Use data to drive interactions
    The beautiful thing about the exponential growth of online and mobile shopping is the wealth of customer data it generates. Retailers need to be analysing this information to not only learn more about behaviour patterns, but to successfully personalise loyalty interactions.Getting the maximum response from shoppers is all about being in the right place, at the right time, with the right offer – and data-driven insights can give retailers the ability to tailor marketing activities around their peak engagement times.
  • Make the store the culmination point
    All too often, retailers make a huge investment in their online loyalty scheme, and keep in place their store programme, which operates entirely separately to what’s happening digitally.It’s not just brand appearance and functionality that consumers want to be consistent across all channels; they want to know their value is being recognised when they walk onto a shop floor.Therefore retailers need to digitise store loyalty to capture the true value of customer activity across all channels. This may consist of a mobile pass application, which shoppers can use to redeem electronic vouchers or collect points in one place.Retailers can also use point of sale technology to enable acquisition and redemption of digital loyalty points, and potentially award higher value customers with personalised ‘flash’ offers at the checkout.
  • Incentivise more than purchases
    According to Capgemini, only 25% of companies reward their loyalty scheme members for interactions other than purchases. However, today’s omnichannel shoppers are trying to build a relationship with retail brands – and they are savvy enough to realise that their value extends beyond the point of sale.A good example of non-transactional incentivisation is rewarding members who support a marketing initiative. This could include liking and sharing a social media post, signing a friend up to a regular newsletter, or taking part in a survey to provide customer feedback.All 3 of these trends have one very important thing in common: they focus on the customer as an individual, and seek to provide them with an experience that is both seamless and gratifying in light of their individual needs.No longer is it sufficient to ‘blanket target’ shoppers with generic schemes and incentives; today’s consumers crave a tailored, consistent, convenient service, and retailers must find the omnichannel loyalty tools to meet that expectations.

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