How to Achieve Customer Loyalty in 2021? The Answer Will Surprise You

With globalisation and digitalisation in full swing, the way consumers interact with brands in 2021 changes extremely fast. Throw in a global pandemic that totally altered the way we think about not only shopping but also about brand relationships and loyalty, and you have yourself a marketing and retention nightmare.

So what is it that makes consumers come back and customer loyalty programs successful in 2021? To get our answer, we first need to understand the behavioural changes that led us here. Let’s take a look.

 

Consumer expectations are high

In 2021, less and less friction is tolerated by consumers when it comes to loyalty programs and marketing campaigns. This is particularly true with the younger generation, who expect to have close to zero inconvenience connected to them using a loyalty program.

This is why it’s important to look at innovative technologies, such as card linking and receipt scanning, which can provide frictionless experience. For instance, with card-linking, you can turn bank cards into loyalty cards, meaning automatic assignment of loyalty points when customers shop. For industries where data collection is particularly difficult due to extensive distribution channels, receipt scanning is an ideal solution. It allows customers to simply upload a photo of their receipt and instantly get rewarded.

Listen to our podcast episode all about the use of card linking in loyalty!

Lots of competition in customer loyalty

As more and more companies around the world appreciate the potential and power of customer loyalty, the benchmarks are rising. What you need to understand when creating a loyalty program is that your customers are not only comparing your program with those of your direct competitors but also with brands from different sectors they interact with.

 

So, if you can keep up with those demands, you win. How do you achieve that? Start by scrutinising those programs you as a consumer enjoy taking part in. What is it about them that makes you engaged and think that you’re getting a bang for your buck?

 

Everything is digital

Even though smartphones are easily the #1 thing all of us use the most throughout our day to day, somehow there are still many brands out there sticking to physical loyalty cards. Not only are they easy to lose or forget, they also don’t bring any additional value compared to a digital loyalty program. On the contrary, creating a digital-first offering will provide both your brand and your customers a multitude of benefits.

For instance, a digital loyalty card provides a direct communication channel with your loyal customers. This is important as levels of engagement can be a make or break factor of your scheme. By communicating new offers, personalised messages and more via push notifications, SMS or email, you have more touchpoints to interact with each individual user. This ultimately leads to higher brand affinity and gets you closer to creating emotional loyalty (if done right).

What’s the future of D2C strategies?

Consumers are (mostly) driven by more than price

The 2020 pandemic has highlighted and accelerated the change in the way consumers think about brand choice. As we have reported, purpose-driven marketing initiatives saw very strong positive reactions and importantly had commercial success in 2020. This just highlights the growing movement towards thinking about consumers as more than just shoppers. What do they believe in and stand for? What do they expect from brands?

 

Interested in giving back with a loyalty program? Read this

 

The key to achieving customer loyalty in 2021 will be to tap into the wider relationship with the customer. Go beyond just transactions and reward different kinds of behaviours. This can (and should) be linked to your brand goals, i.e. if it’s growing social media following, then incentivise customers to like your page.

 

How to achieve customer loyalty in 2021?

So what does the above tell us about the strategy on achieving customer loyalty in this environment?

To start with, forget about physical loyalty cards as they pose too much friction. Opt for a digital loyalty program that can be configured to your brand needs and scale with your business.

Secondly, find an event-based loyalty engine, such as White Label Loyalty, that will help you create a program of the future. With event-based loyalty, you can drive, reward and incentivise any type of customer action. No matter the industry, the sky’s the limit when it comes to setting the rules of your loyalty program.

Not only will an event-based platform allow you to compete with the best loyalty programs on the market, it will also create an environment that fosters emotional loyalty. Because you can personalise rewards, rules and messages, your loyalty program will feel much more rewarding and build the essential rapport between your brand and your customers.

 

 

As mentioned above, consumers’ expectations are high when it comes to the value proposition from brands. If it’s not up to scratch, they will move on without giving your brand a second thought. On the other hand, if you can nail your loyalty offering, tapping into the facets of your brand your customers identify with, then you can easily achieve customer loyalty.

 

Do you want to understand more about how an event-based loyalty platform can help you achieve customer loyalty in 2021? Get in touch with us!

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