Digitizing Coalition Loyalty or Partner-based Programs by Fine tuning the redemption experience drives additional value
BY: Siham Elmejjad, Founding Partner & EVP, 2WLS
“OMG!! With my loyalty points I, at last, received a gift!” – Robert
"I've been accumulating points in this program for too long, with nothing to show for it” – Mark
"Every time I try to order the reward I want, it's out of stock." – Paul
Over the past 20 years, these verbatims remain far too typical, come from far too many members, and are present in far too many loyalty programs. We know it is possible for brands to overcome these challenges and deliver fair value to customers, and more and more, we see digital innovations as keys to unlocking the improved customer experiences.
In some regions, like North America and parts of Europe, consumers expect brands to have, in some form at least, customer engagement and/or loyalty programs. In Africa, loyalty programs are becoming more popular with customers as they increasingly look for ways to get the most value from brands based on their purchases. Brands are responding to this demand and are launching or revamping their loyalty program. A popular model for these updated programs is to create alliances and strategic partnerships that enable digitalized redemption systems, including the possibility to pay with the points, at any participating brand.
A FASTER EARN VELOCITY WITH EASIER REWARD EXPERIENCES
Coalition programs provide one place for members to accumulate rewards points collected from purchases at multiple partners and quicken the time to redeem their points for products or services at these partners. These multi-brand loyalty programs are technology-driven and are the enablers of bringing brands together. Coalitions help participating companies build customer loyalty to their brand, increase sales, enables members to earn points faster, and experience a more convenient, timely way of redeeming their rewards points with digitalized redemption systems.
Ensuring members can make redemptions that are relevant to them is an essential element in all successful loyalty programs. Customer engagement is fueled, in part, by points redemption since it gives members something concrete in exchange for their loyalty and can make them more inclined to take part further in the program.
A CUSTOMER’S FAIR VALUE IS DRIVEN BY THE REDEMPTIONS AND THE REDEMPTION EXPERIENCE
Achieving the perception of fair value with customers is often much simpler said than done. For example, two of the largest obstacles are:
- Restricting the “generosity” margins for program earning, which directly impacts the perceived value of rewards and the redemption experience
- Difficulty with acquiring appealing rewards and maintaining a relevant reward catalog
Reducing friction points to give fair value to your customers has become an essential area of focus to increasing customer engagement. The simplicity and speed of conversion from points to rewards has become a key driver of on-going customer involvement in loyalty programs. A redemption experience that allows loyalty members to pay for purchases at merchant locations using their points addresses this problem for individual loyalty program managers, but this assumes the member earns enough points to redeem.
Building a coalition loyalty program or a loyalty program aggregator in addition fosters faster points accumulation and reduces the time to a reward. This is because Members can accrue points from several brands and/or loyalty programs and then use them for rewards across a single network. This results in improved customer engagement and retention rates by providing a wide selection of rewards perceived to be attainable – either having low point redemption thresholds or earn velocity that qualifies them for a reward at higher redemption thresholds.
A CASE FOR DIGITIZING COALITION LOYALTY
Tookeez is a coalition loyalty program, as well as one of the first loyalty program aggregators where users participate in through a fully digitized experience. It was designed and developed to:
- Meet the demands of modern consumers who desire quick, easy, and comfortable reward experiences,
- Satisfy a growing need for brands with loyalty programs to partner together in a simple and easy way, and
- Modernize how coalition and multi-partner loyalty programs form, led by technology enablement not 3rd party operators, to generate genuine value to brands and increase customer engagement which these program models are proven to do.
Brands can collaborate with other brands with ease while still maintaining the uniqueness of their own programs, yet also providing their customers with member benefits common to coalition programs. For example, Tookeez enables members of these different loyalty programs to accumulate points across each program yet provides conversion choice to redeem for rewards that they want most within the larger Tookeez network of retail partners.
Furthermore, the collection of loyalty programs can work together to help their members accumulate true fair value from each of the various partners in the network – helping resolve those with “generosity” margin caps. Members at the bottom of the customer pyramid are better positioned to redeem their points for a reward by fair conversion and/or access to relevant rewards that they believe to be of higher worth.
Tookeez operates on a digital-led, user-friendly interfaced, loyalty platform that enables companies to connect their loyalty program to a broader network with redemption capabilities that integrate "pay with your points" into their loyalty program. It delivers digitized experiences and interactions with minimal human involvement – an increasing consumer expectation that is becoming more prevalent and more often a differentiator for successful customer loyalty programs.
LET ME LEAVE YOU WITH THIS
One driver for a successful loyalty program is how simple and convenient it is for members to redeem their points to get a reward. A coalition loyalty program is known to offer major competitive edges, some of which we highlighted, over rivals operating their own loyalty program or having no customer program at all. But the concept of how we form coalitions is changing from human-led to being digitally-led. And it’s happening just as we’re experiencing an increased number of brands evaluating or participating in alliance and coalition programs.
The Tookeez system was created to address these trends and make coalition and alliance formation simple and effective for enterprises. The loyalty program has also been entirely digitalized through the Tookeez system, from points accrual through to redemption. Members can quickly and simply use their earned points to receive rewards from participating shops as a result, eliminating the need for manual intervention or delays. It represents what we believe to a common future-state for loyalty and one with far fewer frustrated and disappointing verbatims.