Free and Premium Loyalty Programs Can and Should Coexist

Brands like Lululemon and Restoration Hardware have strong, headline-making loyalty programs with annual fees upwards of $100. But thousands of brands also have free, points-based loyalty programs — can the two coexist in a single brand? 

The short answer: Yes. With shoppers’ desire for richer experiences and more valuable rewards and retailers’ need to gather data to support these desires, a blend of both premium and free loyalty is an advantageous route. 

Report: Holiday Shoppers Prioritize Speed in Retail Experience

Among the survey’s most surprising findings is how quickly shoppers are willing to abandon their favorite retailers when those stores don’t have the items they want. Aptos found that 47% of shoppers will start looking elsewhere if their favorite retailer runs out of an item they’re looking for during the so-called Golden Quarter. Additionally, Aptos found that more than half of consumers (60%) say they will abandon their baskets if they find their items for cheaper elsewhere.

Holiday Discounts Don’t Necessarily Lead to Loyal Customers — Here’s Why

When brands go in on discount-focused events like RetailMeNot’s Cash Back Day, which was held earlier this month, there’s concern that the long-term impact might be negative and that brands might be training customers to expect discounts. That expectation can reduce the perceived value of the brand’s products, and it can diminish brand equity over time.

US Businesses Lead on Reputation Management

Loyalty to local businesses may never cease to be an important factor in brick-and-mortar commerce, but the boom of “near me” searches and the emphasis on convenience in the age of mobile search make a prime online presence for the quick-querying passerby more important than it has ever been. This latest Uberall data indicate that responding to reviews can provide the slight 5-star rating bump that guides an unfamiliar customer into a store she may otherwise pass up for a higher-ranked competitor.

Building Customer Loyalty: Is Texting the Answer?

In today’s fast-paced world, we depend on our phones to help us get things quickly and easily. So, is texting the answer to building customer loyalty? Short answer: yes. Long answer: also yes, but it matters how you use it.

For appointment-based businesses, efficiency and simplicity are key to keeping customers engaged and coming back for more. Integration with online booking, improving gift card sales, and managing scheduling requests are three simple avenues that can have a big impact on building your business’ customer loyalty program. 

5 Proven Strategies for Ramping Up Your Mobile Coupon Marketing Program

The United States is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, with some 96% of people owning a cellphone. Those consumers most likely to own a smartphone fall into the sweet spot of retail marketing demographics—those ages 18-29 (96%) and those ages 30-49 (92%), according to Pew Research. Retailers are realizing that mobile coupon marketing is the best way to get special offers in the hands of consumers. 

Retailers that take advantage of the power of mobile marketing when combined with coupons have a new and effective means of driving foot traffic and purchases. Here we offer a look at five mobile coupon marketing strategies.

7 Loyalty Platforms for Restaurants

One area where restaurants have particularly specific needs is in promoting customer loyalty. Vertical-specific loyalty platforms for restaurants tend to have features and capabilities that more generalized loyalty platforms do not. For example, many loyalty platforms for restaurants are tied to reservation systems, so waiters know customers’ preferences before seating them at their tables.

Although the number of loyalty platforms for restaurants is growing every day, we’ve put together a list of seven important players that anyone who is interested in this space should be following.

Retail is Not Dead, But Small Businesses Need Help

Card-Linked Offer (CLO) technology is leveling the playing field for all merchants. If you haven’t heard of CLOs, you’re not alone. According to the Cardlinx Association, CLO marketing is the fastest growing segment of digital marketing, with a majority of  large companies expecting to double their CLO budgets from last year, and the number of consumer transactions doubling from last year. Despite this rapid growth, most of the 25 million small businesses in the US have never heard of CLO marketing or know that it is available to them.

How Engaging Online Games Can Shape Your Rewards Program

My experience managing product for both the “Farmville” and “Words With Friends” franchises at Zynga afforded me critical insight into the lessons smartphone games offer marketers looking to engage with and create loyalty among all types of people. 

Today, there’s a smartphone game for everyone. Regardless of topic, most games tend to follow a few basic principles that are critical to keeping people entertained, attracting attentionm and incentivizing players to return. Using these same principles, marketers can create campaigns that are more engaging, effective, and enjoyable for the consumer. 

Phone-as-a-Service?

It’s becoming clear that we’re headed toward a new vision for our devices: the Phone as a Service (PaaS). Yes, sounds crazy, but look at the parallels between your phone and how/why other “X”s have become services:

X-as-a-service (XaaS) is delivery of X directly via the internet, eliminating the need to use and manage multiple and independent solutions on locally hosted devices, right? So, PaaS is the delivery of personalized media via the phone, eliminating the need to use and manage multiple and independent, locally hosted apps. We’re already seeing that happen.

First-Party Versus Third-Party Data: What You Should Know

Using first-party data is a win-win. As marketers, you are fostering an ongoing relationship with your customers and prospects by better communicating and serving them. But there needs to be a strategy and long-term commitment. In a survey of US digital marketers by Advertiser Perceptions and programmatic agency MightyHive, respondents said they were, on average, tapping into just 47% of their company’s first-party data potential. It takes the right strategy and technological infrastructure in place to activate first-party data at scale.

Word of Mouth Remains Vital for Loyalty in Digital Age

Pundits have speculated that loyalty is becoming less and less important as mobile and especially voice search drive the consumer toward the most convenient purchasing options. That may be true, but the report indicates loyalty remains a powerful factor, with 53% of consumers saying they are more likely to buy from a retailer they know and trust.

Retail Insights: Inside The Vitamin Shoppe’s Omnichannel Strategy

The data that The Vitamin Shoppe collects in its CRM is used to create 360-degree views of each customer so that in-store associates can see in real time when customers have earned new awards and offer more personalized product recommendations based on previous purchases.

Behind the Rise of Data Transparency

As technological capabilities accelerate and data regulations increase, brands should home in on data privacy. Focusing on data transparency will ensure you stay out of legal trouble while also earning more loyal, trusting customers. Consumers understand that you have data — it’s how you use it and share your practices that can make or break these important relationships.

To Share or Not to Share: How Gamification is Swaying the Modern Consumer’s Loyalty

Although 94% of C-suite leaders consider customers’ data to be of paramount importance, privacy continues to be a hot-button issue. Data privacy practices have come under increased scrutiny with the passing of regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation, aimed at protecting individuals from the misuse and exploitation of personal information. Even as consumers continue to debate the tradeoff between convenience and control, one thing is clear—they are craving a more intuitive and personalized experience. How, then, can companies reconcile the differences and walk the tightrope as they acquire a 360-degree view of their audience?

Gamification is one path forward.

Heard on the Street, Episode 26: The Art of Digital Persuasion, with Jeff Hasen

Amid accelerated disruption in digital media, consumer touch points continue to fragment. That includes a growing list of interfaces and delivery channels for content—everything from smartphones to watches to headphones and speakers. So what’s a marketer to do?

This is the topic of Jeff Hasen’s third and most recent book, The Art of Digital Persuasion, which we discuss with the author on the latest episode of the Heard on the Street Podcast. In addition to lots of marketing tactics, Hasen has also learned a lot in a career that includes work as both a journalist and an ad agency exec.

Single-Use Coupons: A Multi-Pronged Strategy for Each Phase of the Customer Journey

A savvy marketer can select a solution that enables her to launch personalized promotions that perfectly suit a target customer for a given phase. For example, an offer designed to acquire new customers should differ from the one that goes out with a view to retaining lapsed customers or further engaging the loyal customer. This is where single-use coupons provide immense potential to deliver personalized promotions, allowing marketers to segment their customers into the appropriate marketing phase—acquisition, engagement, or retention.

Foursquare’s Location-Based Loyalty Metrics Point to Best Practices for Casual Restaurants

Brushing aside customer surveys and other imprecise measures of customer loyalty, location intelligence firm Foursquare released a location-based report this morning that evaluates best practices and practitioners in loyalty among casual restaurant chains. 

Most importantly for future considerations, the report suggests that brands can improve loyalty in all four of the areas that contributed to its index.

Heard on the Street, Episode 23: Google, AI, 5G and Marketing Champagne

What do Google’s AI-fueled search results, 5G, and marketing champagne all have in common? They’re the central topics of a roundtable discussion on the latest episode of Street Fight’s podcast, Heard on the Street.

As we do quarterly, this is a bonus episode that puts aside our typical interview format and instead invites the leading thinkers from the Street Fight newsroom and executive ranks to discuss news and insights that are top of mind.

Heard on the Street, Episode 22: The Art and Science of Customer Data Platforms

As data science continues to collide with digital marketing, customer behavior metrics are reaching new levels of actionable insight. But counteracting that advantage is the growing fragmentation of devices and platforms used in the path to purchase, making it harder to get a single view of the customer.

This is the world of customer data platforms (CDPs), and it is where Amperity hangs its hat. With a technological edge and specialization in identity, VP of strategic services Matthew Biboud-Lubeck explains to us on the latest episode of Heard on the Street how the company helps brands get the insights they need to better serve their customers.