Loyalty programs can boost C-store marketing efforts but as more retailers adopt, more is learned about their implementation. Frequently the end customer experience doesn’t always match the intended outcome – with every success, there are loyalty initiatives that miss the mark.
Successful loyalty programs must include these fundamentals elements:
- Use Persona Segmentation To Differentiate And Target Messages
The ability to consolidate consumer data, identify meaningful insights that address not just demographic differences but different motivations of your consumers is fundamental to loyalty program success.A testing a learning approach based on consumer segment hypothesis is often required. Get to know your customer base and how needs may change based on user persona or time of day. To the end consumer the message must feel relevant and personalized.
- Ability To Drive Positive Behavior Change
Loyalty programs began with this goal in mind and it is still vital. The ability to influence and track positive behavior change has expanded vastly with the proliferation of available customer data via digital channels. C-Store retailers must deliver a fair exchange of value for customer’s loyalty and provides a foundation for building relationships beyond one time transactions.
- Rewards Must Be Relevant
Best practice loyalty efforts start by knowing your customer base beyond transactions to motivations, lifestyle and ultimately who they are and what they value. Starting from customer insight enables rewards that are relevant and have the ability to inspire. Integrating loyalty into point-of-sale systems provides the ability to reward the customer’s spend with real-time connectivity. Returning a benefit straight to the customer. Retailers can automatically update balances to deliver the instant gratification and recognition consumers particularly millennials crave for using the program.
- Need To Recognize And Reward Beyond Transactions
Loyalty programs that simply recognize transactions appear very one-sided, customers feel they are valued solely for profit. This approach limits the opportunity to build an emotional connection to the brand or individual store location. Limiting the long term potential of the relationship. An emotional connection is required to build customer devotion. Devoted customers are likely to recommend a store location or product to others, engage with your social media outlets and be the most receptive to future offers.
A result of a good loyalty programs is that the end consumer receives rewards that are tailored to their needs, feel within reach and received at the right time. Versus driving loyalty via better values for the shopper which at the end of the day is only slightly more effective than a traditional paper coupon.