Complete Guide to Loyalty Programs in 2022
INTRODUCTION TO CUSTOMER LOYALTY IN 2022
When it comes to customer loyalty in 2022, there are no clear-cut answers. Long gone are the days when customer retention started and ended with a plastic loyalty card. Let’s get something straight right away: no two loyalty programs are created equal. We’ve seen it all: from mobile apps to customer tiers & perks to more short-term initiatives that start the process by capturing customer data and building a contact database.
No matter what your industry or brand allows you to do, one thing is clear: ignoring customer loyalty and retention strategies will not pay off.
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WHY ARE LOYALTY PROGRAMS IMPORTANT IN 2022?
Most businesses focus on new customer acquisition. Whilst this is important, looking after your existing customers is even more essential because:
- It costs 5-10x more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one
- Increasing your customer retention rate by just 5% can boost your profits by up to 95%!
In short, loyalty programs are important because they can produce powerful results. A dedicated program that offers great rewards can help you with the following:
- Increasing profits
- Improving sales success
- Retaining high-valuable customers
- Attracting new customers
- Reducing churn
- Gathering detailed customer data
- And so much more…
LOYALTY PROGRAM TRENDS 2022
THE BELOW TRENDS ARE SHAPING CUSTOMER LOYALTY IN 2022: READ ON TO FIND OUT HOW YOUR BUSINESS CAN STAY AHEAD
1. CUSTOMERS ARE DEMANDING DIGITAL
A continuing digital transformation in the market is driving the customer experience in 2022. Consumers now expect that interactions with brands should occur on digital platforms. As a result, businesses have to evolve their strategies to ensure they are creating a seamless digital customer experience.
- Can the online and offline worlds still work together?
The global switch to digital platforms will see many companies creating loyalty programs on apps in 2022. The use of apps can engage an increasingly digitised audience and expand the reach of loyalty programs. For many businesses, however, most of the customer journey still occurs offline. This creates the question of how to connect the online and offline worlds throughout the brand experience. One of the solutions to this is using data capture methods such as receipt scanning.
Receipt scanning extracts data from a printed receipt or invoice to power information in a loyalty program. Burger King used our receipt scanning technology to launch their rewards program without the need to integrate different ePOS systems. Customers simply submitted a picture of their receipt to access digital rewards on the Burger King app. We also integrated a branded microsite into the rewards program to prevent customers from having to re-register.
Receipt scanning solutions can also be applied to B2B businesses. Wavin, a plumbing manufacturer who primarily sells into third-party wholesalers, struggled to establish a direct relationship with its end consumers. This meant that there was limited data to inform future marketing and sales campaigns. We created a B2B loyalty solution for Wavin using receipt scanning technology which integrates into a digital mobile app. ‘Wavin Rewards’ is now a data-driven solution that allows the supplier to reward end users for purchasing its products, without having to rely on information from stockists.
The above examples show how technology can bring the offline and online worlds together, without disrupting the customer experience. Further, whilst POS system integrations are useful, they are certainly not the only way to operate a loyalty program that works in 2022.
2. BRANDS MUST PIVOT TO CUSTOMER EXPECTATIONS AND GO BEYOND TRANSACTIONS
In 2022, customers are demanding more flexibility than ever. Traditionally, loyalty programs have depended upon transactional relationships between brands and customers, but this model doesn’t allow for influencing customer behaviour. If brands want to shift their customer’s habits, they must be able to reward actions that are not only transactional.
Customers want to be rewarded for engagement, such as interacting with a brand’s social media pages or writing product reviews. Brands can show appreciation and recognition for this by offering benefits regardless of whether a customer has made a purchase or not. This ultimately leads to a behaviour shift, and customers become more willing to actively engage with brands.
3. EMOTIONAL LOYALTY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
To truly appreciate why pivoting to customer expectations is necessary, you must understand the importance of emotional loyalty. There is an increasing need for customers to relate to a brand on an emotional level rather than a purely purchase-driven one. Emotional loyalty cultivates a deeper level of relationship and increases the likelihood that a customer will stay genuinely loyal to a business. To cultivate this, brands must understand their customers and engage with them in ways that tap into their personal values and interests. Data and personalisation is the key to understanding what customers truly value in 2022.
If you are seriously considering improving customer loyalty, read our dedicated article about emotional loyalty first here.
4. DATA, INSIGHTS, AND PERSONALISATION ARE KEY
Today’s customers expect highly personalised interactions. With 80% of consumers more likely to interact with brands that offer personalised experiences, collecting data and insights is essential for loyalty program success. These factors will differentiate between a good loyalty program from the 2010s and a successful loyalty program today.
To help you understand the kind of data you can collect, take a look at the graphic below which shows all the data point considerations you should be aware of throughout your customer’s journey (bear in mind there might be more, specific to your customers):
GLOBAL BRANDS ARE RECOGNIZING THE POWER OF LOYALTY
QSR and Hospitality Brands are tapping into digital loyalty this year
Brands from different industries are starting to recognize the power of loyalty programs. Earlier this year, McDonald’s launched their rewards program across multiple markets to create global brand loyalty. The loyalty program saw over 22 million enrollments in the US, enabling the brand to bridge the gap between physical restaurants and the digital world. According to McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempcziski, the rewards app has been the “single biggest driver of digital adoption”. To find out more about what food and beverage brands are doing with their loyalty programs, check out our latest guide here.
Changing the traditional structure of travel loyalty programs in 2022
The structure of traditional airline loyalty programs is based on a pre-pandemic world. Since 2020, both personal and business travel have reduced drastically. With flights becoming less frequent, how do customers show loyalty to an airline? Companies such as American Airlines, Etihad & Qantas are revamping their loyalty programs to follow this changing landscape and reflect how customers are behaving in 2022.
Global brands understand that customer loyalty is the future
Virgin launched a loyalty program called “Virgin Red” last year which was born out of “understanding what members need, want and love, and creating a club that revolves around them”. The program focuses on personalisation with the understanding that customers value rewards in different ways. As a result, Virgin Red allows customers to donate their rewards to charity as part of their “Points for Good programme”. This is a great example of how big brands can tailor the mechanics of their rewards programs according to what their customers appreciate most.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS & HELPFUL LINKS –
WHAT MAKES A SUCCESSFUL LOYALTY PROGRAM IN 2022?
As well as adapting to the above trends that we are seeing this year, there are a few more steps to creating a great loyalty program…
- User experience – with the move to digital apps, customer experience now relies heavily on technology. Make sure your loyalty platform is easy to use for different types of customers, and provide excellent support to anyone who needs it. Check out our top 5 tips to improving the UX of loyalty programs here
- Intelligent rewards – the rewards you choose to offer must engage users. Try to offer a range of promotions and rewards to make sure there is something for everyone. Even better, use your customer data to personalize the rewards you offer.
- Promoting your loyalty program – your app needs to be easily accessible and visible to current and potential customers. Show them the value of participating and build an audience with a carefully-planned marketing plan. Needs some inspiration? Check out these 7 tried & tested strategies for promoting your loyalty program.
- Customer engagement – you’ve got customers to sign up to your app, but how do you keep them engaged? Whilst monetary rewards and discounts are motivating, there are other ways you can ensure your customers interact with your loyalty platform. Gamification is a great example: you could launch competitions and leaderboards to make the whole experience more fun. Check out this article on examples of loyalty gamification to get inspired.
A rewards program that does not evolve with industry changes and customer expectations will not be future-proof. With modern customer’s needs changing constantly, the brands that fearlessly innovate and pivot their strategies will see success in 2022 and beyond.
To adapt with these future changes, brands need a flexible solution to loyalty. This need for flexibility contributed to the development of the White Label Loyalty engine – a platform that is adaptable to any use case or industry. Using modular architecture, brands have the power to choose how their loyalty program functions, such as what kind of customer actions they reward. There’s also flexibility to change the program’s structure alongside future business, industry or customer changes. To find out more about the White Label Loyalty platform, you can download the White Paper or contact one of our loyalty specialists at email@example.com
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Creative & Content Marketing Executive
Helen is our Creative & Content Marketing Executive. She shares valuable information about the Future of Loyalty and will keep you up to date on the latest industry insights...