Consumers today have high expectations of brands to deliver an up-to-date technological experience. The way consumers interact with brands has shifted from a one-way broadcast to a two-way conversation.
Factors contributing to brand loyalty have evolved as well; digital disruption has pushed companies into a perpetual state of transparency. Companies built on agile business models equipped with innovative listening technology and armed with comprehensive consumer data are those best poised for a successful loyalty program. Here are some changes in consumer loyalty in today’s digital age:
The Consumer Expectation
One survey found that the percentage of consumers who say they take advantage of discounts or coupons has steadily declined since 2012. Coupons aren’t as appealing to today’s consumer as e-commerce eclipses traditional purchase methods; free shipping is a purchase driver.
According to research by Accenture Strategy, 71% of loyalty program members claim that loyalty programs do not engender loyalty, and 77% admit that they retract their loyalty more quickly than they did three years ago. This demonstrates brands’ lack of understanding of rapidly evolving consumer behavior.
Traditional business models prevent brands from making agile marketing decisions to adapt to the rapid pace of change in the digital marketing space. Businesses must make strategic changes to consumer research and marketing strategy to effectively communicate with an evolved consumer.
Data and Social Media
84% of marketers identified making data-driven decisions as one of the most important capabilities, yet only 10% believe they are effective at applying that data to make more effective decisions. Social media contains a wealth of insights and data on consumer behavior, preferences, and purchase decisions, yet 70% of companies are not collecting data from social channels according to DMA. Accenture’s research found that more than half of loyal customers actively recommend brands to others, and 14% express their loyalty publicly through social media.
Understand Consumer Behavior
Technology has allowed consumers to access information in seconds, and has created a demand for responsive communication between the brand and the customer. Cloud computing and artificial intelligence have elevated customer experience to allow for personalized information exchange, which consumers now expect with every brand interaction.
A Red Dot Research study found that twice as many 18-24 year olds than 45-55 year olds have higher expectations of retail delivery performance compared to two years ago. Marketers are encouraged to study their prospect base and identify customized buyer profiles based on behavioral characteristics which are then used to develop highly targeted positioning strategies.
Make Loyalty Simple
Loyalty programs should be made simple to encourage adoption and frequent use. From the first touch point and enrollment to reward redemption, the process should be a clear, simple, and even enjoyable one for the customer. Complicated points systems can be perceived as a sneaky way to encourage mindless purchases with no real benefit to the customer. In fact, 51% of US consumers are more loyal to a brand that innovates and provides up-to-date technology to enhance the brand experience.