On June 25th Loyalty 360 hosted a webinar titled “Consumer-Centric: Not Just Another Marketing Buzzword Customer” presented by LOC Enterprises. The webinar demonstrated consumer feedback on specific pain-points related to participating in loyalty programs and offered insight into ways to eliminate those obstacles to foster better engagement with consumers.
Loyalty 360 conducted a Q&A with LOC Enterprises at the end of the webinar to further clarify how best to avoid common pitfalls within engagement.
The webinar audience had a lot of great questions. We share those questions and answers below.
Q: What exactly does LOC do?
A: Simply put…it is the method the consumer uses to enroll in any merchants program, look at it as an “enrollment” card. And then allows the consumer manage the engagement process. I promised Loyalty 360 that this would not turn into a LOC commercial. You can contact me after the webinar and I would be happy to show you the solution.
Q: I see the consumer benefit for what you’re saying but what’s in it for the merchant?
A: First I would say anything you do that appeals to your customers is a winner for the merchant. But beyond that, what would it be worth if you could double, triple, or even have 100% of your customers fully registered with multiple paths to engage and build that relationship in which the customer had a hand in? A recent study from Gallop show that across all industries the average consumer “enrollment” in loyalty programs was 10%, with grocery leading at 14%. It also showed that those customers that were enrolled the merchant got a 6-10% larger wallet share…so again if you can increase enrollment what would that be worth.
Q: With just about everyone doing loyalty programs, what makes a program stand out with consumers?
A: That’s the problem; just about everyone has a “loyalty program”. Consumers join for the discounts and deals. But if you build a program that focuses more on the relationship, instead of the wallet, your program will stand out. Deliver relevant content, whether its offers or information, and the consumers will actually be loyal to the brand instead of the discount.
Q: Why would a merchant allow LOC to get between them and their customer?
A: LOC does not “get between” the merchant and the customer. On the contrary, LOC facilitates the communication between the merchant and the customer. The merchant can still do everything they currently do today, including e-mails, but offers many additional channels of engagement. LOC provides the CONSUMER with the tools to manage the engagement and if a particular merchant’s actions become bothersome, the consumer can stop e-mails or stop texts. What the consumer can’t stop, without completely deleting the merchant relationship, is communications to his dashboard. This feature actually protects the merchant - the consumer has placed his loyalty merchants all together in one place so, every time the consumer goes to check on any one, they see them all. If the consumer should declare “e-mail bankruptcy”, the merchant is still protected. If the consumer loses his LOC Card, the merchant has not lost their link back to the customer. There are HUGE advantages to the merchant over the current system which is already overloaded. The bottom line is that it is up to the merchant to build loyalty to his brand defined as the “promise you make and keep to your customer.” LOC enhances that ability in many ways.
From the Maritz Loyalty Report, May 2013: “Members are enrolled in an average of 7.4 programs, yet are active in only 4.7. In fact, only 35% of Members are active in all of the programs in which they are enrolled. Something is getting in the way of a higher level of engagement among these unengaged Members….It should not be surprising for loyalty marketers, therefore, that a one-size-fits-all approach to program design and to program benefits achieves limited results in driving and sustaining engagement across a diverse customer base, comprised of individually unique customers.”
By any standard, these are not great numbers and nothing close to what they could be. If we can truly think like consumers…it’s not a hard answer…YES, something is getting in the way…we have clearly identified it …the BIG question for a merchants is can we separate the “emotion” from the clear goal…customer enrollment and relevant two-way engagement??
Q: Can the LOC Card be used as a Casino Rewards/Players Cards for say, slot machines?
A: Yes, absolutely.
Q: Is your loyalty program strictly card based? What about companies that are home serviced based?
A: Actually its number based (a universal loyalty ID), with a wallet card, key fob, and mobile (the mobile app can support individual merchant offers/rewards)…the number can be keyed in for use on the internet.
Q: I see clear benefits for consolidating into one card from consumer perspective. Won’t merchants feel they lose competitive advantage, customer relations and data if they don’t manage their own loyalty program?
A: This goes back to the first question. For clarity, with LOC the merchant loses none of its current contact information/data from those already enrolled in their program. LOC does not own/maintain the merchant’s data. Rather, LOC is nothing more than a conduit for the merchant to gather and exchange its data with its customers. We would “recommend” that merchant use the LOC tools to engage the consumer, but that would be solely up to the individual merchant. Second, the merchant still runs their “branded” loyalty program as always, just allowing the use of the LOC card ID in addition to (or in place of) the current loyalty card ID – letting the customer decide which card to use. The one thing the merchant is guaranteed with LOC is that they will be able to connect with 100% of their customers using the LOC card because the customer will be fully registered. Lastly, there is always the risk of the consumer just changing their e-mail leaving the merchant nothing. We see no competitive advantage by making it harder on the consumer. We talked about them being smart, but also remember they took that first step by joining your program, so they saw something special about you as a merchant. You just need to find out what it is…through a better, deeper relationship.
Q: With all the concerns over privacy why would a customer want to allow all their data to be aggregated in one place?
A: Good question. There is NO merchant data stored with LOC, 100% of all data stays with the individual merchant, analytics, redemption, everything. LOC is just a repository for the consumer and all of their rewards programs, their current status and engagement methods. The merchant has 100% control of all the customer purchase/history data and LOC has no way to access it, nor wants to.
Q: But isn't this what we're moving towards as an industry... consumers want to aggregate their loyalty memberships into one location (ideally an individual fob or app) so they can review the value at a later date and they don't miss out… Wouldn't it be better if as an industry (loyalty) we provided a more aggregated, personalized solution across all programs to our members?
A: This question comes from a “Thought Leader”…exactly…why wouldn’t you give your customers what they want? The customers are saying clearly…”Help us, help you!!!” Yes, LOC is transformational, but in a good way…it separates merchants with that selected status that the CONSUMER has given the merchant by participating in their program from an overcrowded system that has become unmanageable. The thought leaders that are the early adopters with have a distinct advantage: they will be recognized to be the first to provide their customers with a truly “consumer-centric” solutions that customers have been asking for, secondly, these merchants will have nearly 100% enrollment - allowing them to start building deeper relationships day one, with NO forms to complete, no website to register at, simplicity at its finest!! It’s not a matter of “if”, just when…LOC has been called a game changer and there’s merchants looking to do exactly that, change the game!! Is that you???
POLL Question: As a consumer, can you relate to email in-box overload?
A: 94% YES 6% NO
This stat is from the participants on the call. With a stat like this (which is consistent with our data), it is no wonder consumers are declaring e-mail bankruptcy. You can also calculate that it’s going to become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to get e-mail addresses (valid, not bogus account used to dump e-mails) from consumers. Without an e-mail address, how will merchants engage their customers??
For those interested and who would like to spend 30 minutes to completely understand LOC, myself or a member of our staff would welcome the opportunity to do a webinar and give you a tour of the LOC system, so that you can see first-hand the features, benefits and advantages that LOC can offer you, your business, and your clients.
Loyalty 360 members can access playback of this popular webinar at Loyalty 360's On-Demand Webinars: Consumer-centric: Not Just Another Marketing Buzzword