— October 30, 2018
The word “omnichannel” has taken on a life of its own in the marketing world, but before it became a buzzword, retailers had already long been working to grow their sales by adding new channels into their mix. Now the same companies are looking for a way to unify the experience across all channels, and having an omnichannel loyalty program is one way to make it happen.
Becoming an omnichannel brand seems simple at the outset, but retailers often struggle to create a seamless experience across all of their channels. Even when it comes to something as simple as coupons, retailers find themselves with each channel in a separate silo: one coupon offer and sale for the web, another separate coupon for stores.
So if even discounts are stuck in individual channels, you can imagine how it feels to make a more complex loyalty program truly omnichannel.
However, there’s good news. A loyalty program can actually be central to the marketing strategy, both unifying data and bridging the gap between each channel.
Here’s are a few things to look for when you’re building your own seamless omnichannel loyalty program:
Unify Your Customer Profiles
Business growth in today’s competitive retail world starts with getting data… and being able to use it. And what better way to gain such precious knowledge than tapping into the customer’s lifestyle? As Joanne Yulan Jong, the natural-born fashion designer and author put it, “it’s all about being right there and first in mind when the customer is looking”.
Joanne Yulan Jong highlights the importance of omnichannel experience in her Instagram post, as the main approach of connecting with customers in the future.
Loyalty programs have long been recognized as a brilliant way to gather information about customers, but it can also cause problems if brands store their customer data in multiple places. If your CRM has different data than the POS, the ESP and the loyalty program, you won’t get the full picture – and that means missed opportunities.
A unified profile that is connected with your other marketing tools means you’ll always be equipped with the right information to recognize your customers, know what they like, and be able to talk to them wherever they are. Look for a loyalty program that can integrate with your tools and deliver a complete view of your best customers.
Learn About In-store Customers
Consider what you know (and don’t know) about customers that visit your physical stores. Many of our clients don’t know much about them beyond purchase data.
If we examine the luxury world in particular, this lack of information has expensive implications. If travelers drop by a store to get a full luxury fashion experience and leave the country two days later, these brands don’t have a way to keep in touch with them once they’ve left. They’re essentially losing potential high-value customers.
The solution to this is enrolling customers into the loyalty program, so you can begin building customer profiles and keep in touch. Enrollment can suit your brand, for example, customers can be personally enrolled by staff or enroll themselves on a tablet device in store. It doesn’t take much information to get started – a name and phone number or email address is enough to create a new line of communication.
Stay Connected Online
Once enrolled, you’ll be able to notify customers about loyalty offers via SMS or email, and bring them to the website, where customers can learn more about the ins and outs of the membership program and how they benefit from the participation. .
Encourage online and offline purchases with various offers which can be applied via the ecommerce platform or POS. Or steer clear of discount culture and focus on creating an exclusive experience with several tiers of benefits and experiential rewards.
The great part about loyalty is that it’s customizable, and can be built to fit business goals and brand vision.
Bring the Experience to Mobile
Mobile in itself has a great many touchpoints for customer retention, including on your responsive mobile site, in your app, in the mobile wallet, SMS, and of course among various social media channels.
It’s also possible to connect the loyalty program with other mobile lifestyle apps, like New Balance did with Strava. Both athletic apparel retailers reward their customers’ activity mobile activity tracking apps.
Connect to the Customer Lifestyle
Take the loyalty program even farther and connect with customers when shopping isn’t even on their mind. Connect the loyalty program with wearable tech, smart tags, lifestyle apps, or even live fashion events. Retailers are getting creative with loyalty – even going as far as rewarding customers for wearing clothing, like Tommy Hilfiger did with their smart sweatshirt.
Lifestyle extends to ethics and beliefs, too. One great example is how more and more household names in fashion and beauty, like H&M, MAC and Levi’s, are rewarding customers for recycling used clothes or product packaging. Giving customers points, rewards or discounts for recycled, well-loved products rewards speaks directly to the customer lifestyle. Companies like Kiehls and Madewell are making it a part of their loyalty strategy, and this can be tied in even tighter to an existing loyalty program.
Your Omnichannel Loyalty Checklist
Planning a loyalty program that speaks to your customers in the right way, in the right place, and at the right time can be done. Just make sure to take Joanne Yulan Jong’s advice to heart and focus on an omnichannel approach. The planning stages are the most important part of the process, so here’s the checklist to start the conversation with your team:
- Identify where your customers browse and shop the most. Focus on creating a smooth experience across those core channels first, and build from there.
- Map out your data. Where does your customer data come from and where does it live? What could you do better if it were unified?
- Consider your current offers and promotions. Are you making it easier for customers to engage wherever they want to shop?
- Understand how your customers love spending their time. How can you reward them for it?
- Also, ask customers what they care about. Whatever it is, it’s another opportunity to build real relationships.
The only limit is your team’s imagination, so if you want to reward customers for what they already love doing, we’re here to explore the options with you.