Making loyalty part of the programme - not an add on

It is an open secret that loyalty programs and reward schemes need to change - the number of voices crying out for a sea change in the way loyalty programs work is growing day by day. Indeed, it’s a topic we have touched on before.  The latest voice that caught our attention was Vaughn Highfield writing in Total Customer online.

'the key to a successful loyalty program is convenience and tangible real benefits'

Highfield's article argued that customer loyalty is on a downward trend. Businesses have stagnated, and not kept up with smarter, more informed customers. The game is up, and the old ways of doing things just doesn't cut it anymore. We argued in our article earlier this month that the key to customer loyalty is rooted in user friendly, trustworthy and convenient service, much more so than in any actual scheme.  Highfield’s article highlighted ways that loyalty programs should be a driving force in encouraging customer returns. It's not exactly rocket science either, the key to a successful loyalty program is convenience and tangible real benefits. No more points please!

There were three stats in particular that stood out to us in the article. Firstly, some 21 per cent of shoppers think that loyalty cards should be stored in a smartphone app. Secondly, 1 in 3 gain no value from loyalty cards because they aren’t carrying them at the time. Finally, some 75 per cent of shoppers think that loyalty should be linked to a payment card of their choice.

'75 per cent of shoppers think that loyalty should be linked to a payment card of their choice'

Of course, we firmly believe that loyalty should be stored on mobile. However not loyalty as a separate entity, but directly incorporated into the payment process. We are sure that even more than 21 per cent of shoppers would like the idea of loyalty on the phone if they understood the benefits of incorporating loyalty into a payment method such as Onescan. It seems shoppers like the idea of loyalty being linked to the payment process, so perhaps it's important to convey all the benefits of using mobile payments – including loyalty – rather than talking about loyalty as a stand-alone.  Once shoppers start using mobile payments and experiencing the loyalty benefits, the word will quickly spread.

For a start it becomes impossible to miss out on deals or loyalty rewards.  There are no more cards to forget and a solution like Onescan can immediately prompt consumers about the deals they are  entitled to at the time of purchase.  Onescan's solution to mobile loyalty could also create ubiquity between online and in-store purchases. Moving loyalty onto the mobile automates and simplifies the experience for customers. Whatever scheme or rewards a business wants to offer, a mobile solution puts the consumer back at the heart of loyalty programme.  It takes the chore out of loyalty for consumers and makes it easier for them to actually benefit from the schemes.

Basing a loyalty programme around a mobile transaction platform like Onescan means customers can be routinely and automatically rewarded – meaning they feel welcome, wanted and valued.  And that means you will see them again.

By Matthew Taylor

25th April 2014

Notes: Total Customer's article Total Customer's twitter