Brands from every industry are searching for new ways to engage customers. But which strategies actually create real lasting relationships? Earlier this month, Achille Traore, CEO of White Label Loyalty, delivered a talk to FUTR Europe. The event focused on fresh thinking and digital transformation across marketing, retail and commerce.
If you missed the event, here are the highlights we took from Achille’s talk on “how to use data to unlock the future of customer loyalty”.
What’s the current state of play?
There are three key things happening in our world today:
1) Customer expectations are rising. Today’s consumers know the value of their data and expect you to manage it in the right way — to personalise their shopping experience.
2) Innovation has accelerated 5x. The pandemic fast-tracked the rate at which organisations are undergoing digital transformation. Brands are now more aware of how data-driven they need to be.
3) Brands are shifting from acquisition to retention. Brands know that retention is cheaper than acquisition, and existing customers are more profitable than new ones.
So how should brands approach customer loyalty in this changing environment?
During Achille’s talk, he suggested the following simple formula:
The right type of data + innovative tools and technology = understanding and driving customer behaviour.
Creating deeper relationships with customers is possible with data and technology that can drive specific customer activity. However, White Label Loyalty sees the same 3 challenges coming up:
1) Data silos. Company data is often isolated and scattered across multiple sources due to legacy technology (or lack of tech). This means that existing systems don’t work anymore and businesses need a solution to blend the offline and online worlds.
2) Lack of insights. Many organisations are data-rich. But data is useless unless you can derive clear, actionable insights.
3) Loyalty is broken. 99% of existing loyalty programs are only transactional. Traditional loyalty programs don’t work in today’s digital world — they are not flexible enough and cannot create emotional loyalty.
Brands must structure their data in the right way. This means connecting data points into one platform. Then, capture real-time customer interactions and use segmentation to uncover micro-audiences to target them with personalised messaging.
For companies that are data-rich but insight-poor, don’t shy away from the power of AI. AI modelling can help you find insights in your data, as well as predicting behaviour, churn, and customer preferences.
Finally, in today’s attention economy, it’s more important than ever to recognise customers that interact with you at any level. Customers want (and expect) to be rewarded for any kind of activity. For example, you could reward someone for sharing your product on social media or submitting a review. Going beyond transactions is key to engaging customers in the digital world.
Global trends that will impact customer engagement
The digital landscape is changing
We are shifting into a ‘cookieless’ future. This is a major threat to brands that are not already collecting consensual and insightful first-party data. Many global businesses find it difficult to collect this kind of data without relying on wholesalers and retailers. That’s why they need technology that makes it easy to collect customer information and reward proof of purchase. One method of doing this is using receipt scanning technology. Receipt scanning allows businesses to pull detailed transactional data and begin a direct relationship with end consumers (both across B2B and B2C or D2C).
Customers want a frictionless shopping experience
For brands that operate across different countries and sectors, the customer experience can get complicated. Card linking technology can create a seamless experience from a customer's point of view by engaging them without requiring the traditional methods of proving transactions such as carrying loyalty cards or scanning QR codes.
The rise of NFT rewards
There is so much potential in use cases that blend NFTs, blockchain technology, and the metaverse into the customer experience. Brands can create anything in the form of a digital token, with any kind of reward or unique experience attached to it. Since NFTs are completely unique, brands can also build an exclusive community of loyal NFT-owners. These unique ‘blockchain tokens’ are already being used as membership passes, tickets to events, and “keys” that unlock special rewards.
Loyalty is more relevant today than ever before
Customers are switching brands at a faster rate. Brands should be proactive in the strategies they use to retain them. In fact, customers are willing to pay more for a more valuable experience.
Some brands are not even aware of all the customer interactions hiding behind their data. Any kind of event — from offline purchases to a campaign interaction, social media activity, or entry into a geofence — can give you insights into how your customers behave. And with the right technology, you can reward these customer ‘events’ to drive more of what you want to see.
Creating loyalty means using data to engage your customers at any point in their journey with you. Brands that incentivise and reward customer engagement will build better relationships and eventually foster loyalty.
How much are your customer interactions worth? You’re probably sitting on a data goldmine! Don’t miss out on these valuable customer insights.