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Loyalty Newswire
March 18, 2024

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on March 18, 2024

This Week's News

The weekly Loyalty Newswire from The Wise Marketer delivers a curated list of the latest news and announcements from around the globe on all topics related to customer loyalty. We share news on a spectrum of topics, all with the intention of giving you an “info boost” to start your week.

The Loyalty Newswire makes it simple for busy professionals (that means YOU) to quickly digest important industry news and to *maybe even* enable you to star in your next big meeting.

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Thanks for being on this journey with us!

Stay. Loyal. Always.

Starbucks announces the end of Odyssey

The Starbucks Odyssey program has ended. In an announcement this past Friday, Starbucks announced that the program will close effective March 31, 2024. Points expire once the program closes and participants must select any benefits by that date. NFT “Stamps” that have been earned will continue to be available on Nifty Gateway and the Odyssey marketplace will transition to the Nifty marketplace. The Starbucks Odyssey Discord server will close on March 19th, 2024.

If you have wondered about the viability of using Web3 assets as motivation capital in your loyalty program, you should take a closer look at what happened here. Visiting this chat started up by David Feldman on LinkedIn is a good way to understand the nuances of how the metaverse and customer loyalty may or may not intersect.

Bilt Rewards Announces Strategic Partnership with Alaska Airlines

Bilt Rewards announced a partnership with Alaska Airlines that allows BILT members who earn points on rent payments and neighborhood spend, including restaurants, coffee shops, and grocery stores, to transfer these points on a 1:1 basis into Alaska miles, redeemable for flights on Alaska Airlines and its extensive network of Oneworld partners.

The two companies announced they will also be launching an unprecedented offer later this year exclusively for Alaska Airlines cardholders. When using an Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® card to pay rent through Bilt, cardholders will earn triple Alaska miles—3 miles for every dollar spent on rent, up to $50,000 annually. Bilt Rewards CEO, Ankur Jain, commented on the partnership, stating, "As one of the most loved brands in aviation, this first-of-its-kind partnership with Alaska Airlines not only broadens Bilt’s members’ ability to travel everywhere Alaska and its partners fly but also exemplifies our commitment to providing Americans with more valuable ways to earn and redeem rewards on their largest monthly expense, rent, and within their local neighborhood.”

IT outage at UK supermarket Sainsbury's disrupts online orders

UK grocery shoppers were impacted by a systemwide outage at Sainsbury’s over the weekend. As reported by IT expert Geno Pandolfi (also a pioneer in the loyalty marketing industry), thousands of customers needed hours instore to rescan groceries and utilize cash amid long waiting lines, while online order shopping was also disabled, all because of the grocery chains software updates.

Geno commented “You have to wonder what type of investments major UK grocery chains and their service providers have made in their Data Center Recovery and Active-Active Transaction Architectures to support their front-line instore registers and online order shoppers. Just as important are they de-risking their IT environments with solid software change control and substantial testing procedures for application updates.”

vPromos video interview series

Peter Vogel is CRO, vPromos, a company that combines the power of payments, card-linking loyalty and promotions, and text messaging to help companies easily enroll, engage, know and reward customers. Bill did an interview recently with Peter on the topic of Loyalty Program Enrollment, part of The Wise Marketer’s Pardon the Education series.

In this interview, Peter turns the tables on Bill, asking him about the origins of the Loyalty Academy and the lessons he's learned from working with dozens of huge brands over the years. There is also an excellent interview with Jenn McMillen, a veteran in the loyalty industry for more than 20 years, helping build loyalty programs for companies like NASCAR, GameStop, GNC and Dave and Buster's.

Another example of how easily brand damage can occur - the Kellogg’s “cereal for dinner” saga

In a Feb 21 interview with Kellogg CEO Gary Pilnick on CNBC, there was a discussion of “consumers under pressure” to manage their budgets given increasing food costs. The CEO proposed that cash-strapped families should eat “cereal for dinner” as a way to save money. “The cereal category has always been quite affordable, and it tends to be a great destination when consumers are under pressure,” he said. Listen to the exchange beginning at the 1:25 mark of the interview.

The remarks were received as “tone deaf” by consumers across the US and has infuriated “Moms” across the land, leading some to make their own cereal or avoid the category altogether. The controversial remarks came at an awkward time as the FDA and independent food critics are warning of the dangers of sugar consumption by consumers. Our Loyalty Academy™ foundation courses state that loyalty programs cannot fix fundamental business issues. This controversy is a good example.

M&S in talks with HSBC to create banking and loyalty 'superapp'

Sky News reported that M&S and HSBC, whose UK arm owns M&S Bank, are close to announcing a new long-term relationship agreement that will pave the way for an overhaul of the business. M&S Bank has more than 3m customers, offering personal loans, travel insurance, store payment cards and a buy now pay later credit product.

M&S's long-term aim, they said, was to establish a 'superapp' encompassing payments, financial services, and the retailer's Sparks loyalty programme.

Han-Dee Hugo's Launches New App & Loyalty Program

Sampson Bladen Oil Co. dba Han-Dee Hugo's has chosen Liquid Barcodes as its  full-service provider to launch a customer loyalty program and digital app-based car wash subscription service. The new Han-Dee Hugo's mobile app, developed in collaboration with Rovertown, will offer customers a well-rounded loyalty program which includes digital stamp cards, a store locator map, rewards and perks for birthdays, friend referrals and gamification.

The subscription option for monthly car washing will additionally deliver a frictionless and contactless solution for customers looking for a quicker cleaning solution.

Why most brands fail at building true loyalty

Belinda Clark, a strategy director at Rapp, writes a focused piece on the challenges of building true customer loyalty. Her perspectives are based in the Singapore market and she differentiates between Big L and Little L Loyalty. As she shares, True loyalty is the ‘Big L Loyalty’ that brands are striving for, while ‘Little L Loyalty’ refers to the loyalty programmes and other incentives brands use to encourage repeat transactions.

Belinda believes that brands underestimate the value of customer experience (CX) and its impact on true loyalty and that brand recommendation is the surest sign of loyalty. She cites a recent PWC customer loyalty survey suggests that "many businesses misunderstand consumer behaviour in three key areas: how loyalty is defined, when it's won, and where it's lost". This one is worth a read.

Life Lived Well – a welcome addition to your library

In his new book, Life Lived WellDr. Jeremy Zoch emphasizes the importance of focusing on our whole selves to unlock our best potential. Using marathon training as a metaphor for self-improvement, the author tells the story of how training for a marathon not only propels you across the finish line but can also serve as a guide across various aspects of your life.

According to him, discipline through exercise is the key to overcoming challenges and fears in our day-to-day lives. Beyond the apparent health advantages, the dedication demanded by marathon training imparts invaluable lessons for strengthening your personal relationships, unlocking purpose in your work, finding mental clarity, and more. 

Short Takes, Big News

  • Former Qantas Loyalty boss Olivia Wirth announced as Executive Chair of Myer
  • Cannabis industry loyalty provider Springbig announces financial results for FY2023
  • Removing friction with new payments experiences – an interview with FiServ’s Jeff Pomeroy.
  • Kenya’s M-zawadi (watch video) is building customer loyalty in the country.
  • Digital transformation in Thailand
  • Asian millennials and Gen Z are changing the region’s travel market

Stay. Loyal. Always.