Not all loyalty programs are made equally. The days of simply presenting a generic plastic card at the point of sale are gone. Today’s consumers desire a personalized, integrated connection while shopping, whether in a brick-and-mortar location, or at home.
In order to understand this shift, it’s important to first acknowledge the following trends as they underscore the evolution of today’s shopper:
- Attention spans are shrinking: the National Center for Biotechnology Information indicates it’s dropped considerably since the year 2000 (from 12 to 8 seconds during a 13-year period).
- Social media is the new normal: while many businesses have learned to adapt to the more traditional social trends, new technologies like SnapChat and Periscope will continue to emerge and pose new marketing challenges.
- Generations are shifting: Millennials hold greater buying power than ever before, while the Internet Generation, or Generation Z, might become the most sophisticated demographic.
When it comes to loyalty programs, there are a few brands that truly understand their shoppers and are getting it right, such as:
- Starbucks – saw dollars loaded on Starbucks Cards surge to a record $1.6 billion in its Q1 Fiscal 2015, up 17% over prior year Q1. The company also added 896,000 new My Starbucks Rewards members in December and now has over 9 million total members.
- Walgreens’s Balance Rewards program – ensures that some 70% of sales are made on the card, and managers leverage the resulting data to influence customer behavior. With more than 80 million active members in the program, 20 million receive customized offers as best customers.
- Amazon Prime– saw worldwide paid membership grow by 53% in 2014. In the U.S. paid membership increased by 50%.
Noting the valuable results brands are driving through loyalty programs—increased traffic, conversion, and engagement—it’s becoming more crucial for these companies to find a niche. And, looking ahead, it appears that niche is mobile.
According to the 2015 Bond Brand Loyalty Report, the higher-order objective [of mobile] is to improve the brand experience overall and, ultimately, drive loyalty to the brand. In this regard, there is an untapped opportunity with mobile. The report claims “48% of loyalty-programs members would like to engage with programs via a mobile device.”
That would explain the success of mobile apps like shopkick, which drives foot traffic and in-store engagement through an integrated mobile experience. For a retailer, that’s the trend to keep an eye an on – and one that gives a brand the best of both worlds. You can learn more about ShopperTrak’s new partnership with shopkick here.
So stay tuned for our next post, which will explore some of the new mobile trends and technologies impacting retailers. In the meantime, visit the ShopperTrak blog for more insights on industry trends.