The Indian Loyalty market is rapidly changing, and the old-school `earn-and-burn’ points-based loyalty systems don’t make the cut with users anymore.
Loyalty Strategy

Decoding the Indian Loyalty Landscape: Part One

Photo by Aditya Siva on Unsplash

Editor’s Note: Easyrewardz has committed a decade to learning, excelling, and transforming Customer Experience (CX). Easyrewardz is a sponsor of the Loyalty Academy’s Inaugural Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional™ workshop in Mumbai June 28 – 30. Its sponsorship is testimony to their commitment to the industry and the people who make it happen! To learn more about the 2022 Customer Loyalty trends in the Indian Loyalty Market and how Easyrewardz is responding to these changes, please contact Anjum Rastogi.

By: Anjum Rastogi, Easyrewardz

With a population of 1.4 billion people — out of which 500 million are under the age of 24 — increasing disposable incomes and purchasing power, and a growing appetite for globally trending goods and services, the Indian loyalty industry has never been stronger. With improved literacy, better access to brands and exposure to a global marketplace, the landscape is now scaling to newer and higher heights.

In Part One of this two-part series, we’ll look at the trends that are defining India’s loyalty ecosystem.

As background, when Easyrewardz started, the online players had just entered the Indian market and offline players had an extremely limited data capturing capability to understand their customers. Easyrewardz started with the mission of helping retail businesses across consumer sectors with their digitization and customer engagement journey. For offline retailers, loyalty programs became a ‘hook.’

The advent and adoption of mobile phones was also crucial as unique mobile numbers became unique customer IDs, critical to the design and delivery of loyalty programs for Indian retailers. What started with understanding of customer data, behaviour and rewards, has now progressed to a point where loyalty is much more than just transactions. It is important that the brand connects with their customers beyond transactional loyalty. Easyrewardz came up with pre-integrated solutions to make go-to-market easier and launch the right strategies to influence customers backed by a strong Customer Data Platform and Analytics.

Customer affinity to a brand is not just stimulated through a points program, it is an overall experience and the elements of CX are building blocks in terms of engagement as every interaction counts. Easyrewardz understood this very quickly and thus, its charter included non-transactional behaviour. Not only to reward those actions but also to understand what the customer is saying about the brand to be able to create a strong relationship between the brand and its customer. We are also able to create an understanding of best practices of various sectors and replicate them in other industries.

In the post pandemic world, the healthcare industry has also seen massive growth in digital adoption. Easyrewardz has become a pioneer in offering an end-to-end CRM stack in healthcare, where most systems only offer silo solutions. Easyrewardz looks at the data holistically and helps drive customer engagement through a well-defined loyalty program.

Market growth has also spurred a change in customer expectations. The old-school `earn-and-burn’ points-based loyalty systems don’t make the cut with Indian users anymore. Instead, they want loyalty experiences that are unique and personalized.

When it comes to customer behavior and preferences, change is the only constant. A trend that rocked 2 years back may be redundant at present. This influences the way loyalty programs work and the results they are expected to generate.

What are the 2022 trends that are helping brands craft razor-sharp loyalty strategies that deliver results?

1) AI and data-driven personalization

Businesses across sectors are beginning to adopt AI and machine learning to gather data-driven insights on customers that help them create personalized incentives and loyalty experiences. AI is also being deployed to log the purchase records of channel partners, analyze their purchase behavior, and provide incentives to them.

With the rapid emergence of online players, brands started to explore options to boost their growth. They wanted to be present on multiple channels to keep the customers engaged and thus there was a need to create an omnichannel customer experience. These brand objectives require offline and online behaviour of the customer to be stored and accessible in one place.

2) The rise of gamification

Gamification is rewriting the rules of loyalty programs. According to a Forbes report, 40% of millennials like loyalty programs that have an element of gamification in them. Adding the twist of a Wheel of Fortune to your loyalty program also improves conversion rates by 50%. Engaging customers beyond monetary transactions by keeping the brand relevant via trivia, quizzes, and surveys is a solid start to a gamification strategy.

Differentiation is the new name of the game

As loyalty programs enter unchartered waters across the globe — and move beyond the old-school point-based rewards — marketing executives are investing in new ways to acquire and retain customers. They are introducing differentiated ways to earn and redeem awards as well as creating more avenues for recognition, exclusivity, and access for members.

Given our background in banking and travel, we have been innovating across sectors and have created an extraordinarily strong ecosystem. Our customer centric view helps create a network effect for both merchants and banks that offers an enhanced value proposition making loyalty a true differentiator for a brand and its customers.

Cross-channel connects

It’s easy for a brand to use a single channel of communication. But it’s not necessarily the best way to operate. What works for some consumers might not be the most conducive option for others. While older members may prefer phone chats, millennials prefer texting. Brands are increasingly meeting their customers where they are to build loyalty programs with higher penetration.

Easyrewardz has understood that there are situations where the customer can’t be in the store at times but still expects to have the in-store experience. This finding led to the development of ‘Shopster’, a product that helps brands touch base with their customers both online and offline. Shopster helps reshape conversational commerce by building a deeper connection with consumers while enabling retailers to sell directly to customers from the comfort of their home.

Creating high-value loyalty propositions

As customer loyalty programs transition from stale point-based schemes to more personalized incentives, marketers are putting on their creative hats to roll out compelling value propositions that are in line with their brand strategy. And these strategies are being delivered in seamless and integrated ways.

Technology is the big driver in creating customer connections and Easyrewardz has produced solutions which enable brands to access all customer insights on a single dashboard. ‘Powered through a single view of customer’, Easyrewardz also enables the creation of experiential microsites for programs where customers can access all assets, manage their profile, and redeem their points and vouchers in a personalized and high value approach.

Anjum Rastogi is a Loyalty & CRM Evangelist and Chief Marketing Officer of Easyrewardz.

Decoding the Indian Loyalty Landscape: Part One
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