Like many other industries, the customer loyalty industry felt the impact of COVID-19. More than ever subjects like convenience, value, and emotion played a huge role in how customers were choosing where to shop. Customers who normally would stick with their preferred brands were moved to seek out new retailers or brands due to changes in their shopping habits and demand for certain products. In one study by McKinsey 75% of customers had shopped at a new brand or store since the pandemic started
Brand trust was put to the test: 60% of customers reported that during the crisis they were turning to brands they were absolutely sure they could trust. Along that same line, 71% of customers said that any brands and companies they saw placing profits before people during the crisis would lose their trust forever.
As of November 2020 64% of US customers say they are not yet resuming their "normal" out-of-home activities, and for many individuals "normal" has changed for good. Taking into account these topics of trust, value, and reliability, what will loyalty industry look like post-COVID?
We Are All Affected
It can be hard to imagine going back to normal after months and counting of living in a global pandemic world. The hard truth could potentially be that peoples’ lifestyles will never be how they were before COVID-19 and there will rather be a new normalcy we all have to adapt to. In order to prepare your business for the post-COVID landscape, you should start by thinking as a consumer. Businesses are run by individuals who are consumers as well, we all consume collectively and the best way to connect to your brand’s audience is to align your business strategies with a consumer’s mindset and environment. In other words, think of the changes you have witnessed personally because of the pandemic and put yourself in the shoes of a consumer of your own brand, what would satisfy you as a customer in a new, not-so-normal world?
Personalization Will Be More Important Than Ever
Lives have changed differently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some individuals were furloughed, some laid off, and others faced working or attending class from home. Aside from personal living and working situations, there are some locations where the virus has been handled well and people have been phased into returning to offices, schools, and social environments, while other places, unfortunately, are relatively still shut down. The point is that in the current times we are living in, it is harder to make inferences to be relevant to the mass majority of consumers. Loyalty programs will have to start being hyper-personalized, relevant to the new-normal, experimental, and artificially intelligent.
How to Set Up Your Loyalty Program for Success Post-COVID
If you want your brand’s loyalty program to be successful during and after the pandemic, it has to move beyond being solely transactional. Brandmovers is able to build best-in-class loyalty programs because we continue to apply innovative technology to our platforms that adds a deeper level of relationship-building between you and your customers. Our technology coupled with strategy enables brands to offer more than just transactional experiences and tailor their program to be unique to each individual, driving higher engagement.
If you're trying to find more in-depth insights into how and why your customer shopping habits have changed, you can do so through your loyalty program. Brandmovers can integrate machine learning technology into your program, allowing you to learn more about customer shopping behavior and ultimately create a more personalized experience for each of your loyalty members. We have seen a number of successful instances when utilize machine learning in a receipt validation process provided a deeper understanding of customer behavior based on what is in customers’ carts. You are then able to efficiently build consumer profiles and know exactly what to offer each of your members in a timely and personalized manner. Applying this technology and process to your new or existing program will allow you to hyper-personalize your program and learn more about what different environments your customers are living in during and after the pandemic.
Becoming More Strategic
We understand that having the technology is not enough, you need to know how to properly use it so it can be most beneficial to your business. Brandmovers has a team of strategists that align your business goals with how your loyalty program’s engagement tactics will be set in place. In times like these, we tell our clients to push questionnaires, quizzes, polls, and social stories that boost engagement but also aimed to collect zero-party data. This zero-party data will help your business learn more about what is consistently relevant to your customers and form program offerings and experiences garnered through that.
As the world continues to watch, learn, and adapt going into 2021, the loyalty industry will beyond a doubt also experience a shift in norms. Luckily there are steps you can take to align your customer loyalty strategy for changes coming your way or that you might have already experienced. If you're looking for a partner to help you strengthen and drive your customer loyalty efforts, reach out to us today!