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Stand and Deliver on Loyalty

A data-driven approach to earning and nurturing loyal customers

Are you on the same moral wavelength as your bowl of cereal? Do you feel politically aligned with your paper towels? Does your watch care about your right to healthcare? These questions may seem farcical, but they’re actually quite important—because we find ourselves at a moment in history when a sense of shared values dramatically influences consumer choice over engaging with a brand’s products and services.

Michael Kahn (MK)
Global CEO at Astound Commerce

It’s easy to understand why. Against the backdrop of a pandemic that appears to never fully go away, political discourse that no matter where you stand is disruptive and unsettling, and geopolitical events that are shaking us to our core, consumers are looking for precious, authentic relationships to hold on to. And in the age of modern commerce, that extends to and encompasses their relationships with brands.

But while this aspect of brand loyalty has taken center stage of late, it's only half the story. The other foundational component of loyalty is, of course, how a brand treats and serves its customers. Yes, you need to establish and communicate what you stand for in the world—but you also need to deliver.

Which brings us to the increasingly challenging question of how. In realm of digital commerce, there's a truly dizzying array of loyalty programs to choose from right now—point-based programs, membership and VIP clubs, tiered loyalty programs that are either points- or membership-based or a combination of the two, subscription models, delivery passes, cash-back and gamified programs… The list goes on. It’s matched in length by the list of key customer touchpoints related to loyalty, which include email, apps, notifications, referrals, social media, partnerships, in-store and online events, and the myriad ways a program is surfaced and managed on a brand’s website. There’s also no shortage of partners ready to enable loyalty for your brand, including Salesforce, Yotpo, Smile.io, Mention Me, Antavo, Loopy Loyalty, Goody, Perkville, and CandyBar. 

It’s a lot—but trust me that the pot of gold at the end of this particular rainbow is real. Research shows implementing a loyalty program as part of your digital commerce platform can quadruple average order quantity, and that repeat customers spend about two-thirds more than new ones. Furthermore, the right loyalty program makes a difference, with members of the best ones being 77 percent more inclined to shop with your brand versus the competition. 

So clearly loyalty pays, but how should your brand go about cultivating and taking advantage of it? The answer boils down to one word: data. Detailed customer data is absolutely the key to discerning what's going to work as a loyalty strategy for your unique customer. Your shopping experience needs to be designed in such a way that you’re constantly capturing that data, and using your knowledge of the customer to delight and inspire them regarding all things related to your brand. 

Luckily, it’s a virtuous circle, with loyalty programs functioning as a key component of a brand’s first-party data strategy. As I wrote about earlier this year, the demise of third-party data collection has brands leaning into first-party data, which involves collecting data via a user’s behaviors and actions, including site navigation and purchase or subscription actions. Since loyalty programs themselves drive customers to take actions, they help to develop user profiles and inform segmentation strategies, allowing for an optimized and personalized customer experience. That enhanced experience leads to more loyalty, which leads to … more data. And so on. 

With detailed data and insights helping you create experiences to identify and re-engage the most loyal customers, as well as to identify look-a-likes to those customers, you’re armed with everything you need to execute on the most effective customer acquisition and retention strategy possible. So my call-out to all brands who want to pursue loyalty is simple: stand, and deliver. Your customers are ready, for both the medium and the message. 

Need help devising the loyalty and data strategy that’s right for your brand? We can help

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