Founded in 2009​, The First Club ​is a worldwide digital entertainment rewards platform that helps clients  deliver low-cost, high-value micro rewards instantly to most any device with the full spectrum of digital content, including millions of choices including movies, music downloads, games, eMagazines, eBooks, mobile apps and games and gift cards.

The First Club makes it easy for brands to say “thank you” to a customer with a relevant reward from the very first purchase driving engagement to the brand immediately, which has increased retention of those same customers by 30 percent, on average, for clients.

Loyalty360 caught up with Jill Goldworn, co-founder, and president of the First Club, to learn more about this exciting company.

Why is a digital rewards strategy an imperative for any marketer launching a loyalty program?

Goldworn: Customers are savvy and need a reason to purchase and, usually, that is based on price which doesn’t engender loyalty. A digital rewards strategy provides a unique opportunity to acquire, retain, and engage customers by developing an ongoing relationship over time. In fact, according to Forrester, 66 percent of financial executives said acquiring new customers was the top strategic objective for their loyalty programs. To create stickiness, loyalty must be rewarded from the very first purchase.

According to Mintel, 55 percent of customers say ease of redeeming rewards and a wide variety of selections are the most important feature of a loyalty program. Our rewards, that includes movies, music, eBooks, games, eBooks, and eMagazines can be delivered seamlessly to most digital devices and delivered through connections from our client’s platform via vouchers codes on the pack, email, or SMS.

What are brands doing well regarding digital rewards strategies and where do the challenges lie?

Goldworn: It comes down to communicating the offer and creating emotional engagement to the value proposition. Through a wide selection of solutions, thefirstclub.com offers the widest variety of digital content and the only platform translated into 14 languages delivering millions of choices worldwide with proven strategies to increase purchases and reduce churn.

Some of our clients use our millions of choices of rewards as a survey reward benefit, surprise and delight anniversary bonus, and others use a free eBook offer for a long flight as a way of customer recognition giving their customers a product of their choice, delivered to their device to use while traveling. And as 68 percent of U.S. adults own smartphones, allowing them to access and delivering rewards is an industry imperative.

If brands want to future proof their incentive programs, including digital rewards, has become a required catalog category.

What are digital micro rewards and how can they impact any customer engagement strategy?

Goldworn: All companies can afford to say thank you.  Micro-rewards are a low cost, most transactions are under $5, creative way to allow brands to drive offers, test promotions, and only pay for the content that is actually redeemed, as well as providing all of the transactional data to deepen the relationship with the customer. A recent McKinsey research concluded that the executive teams that make extensive use of customer data analytics across all business decisions see a 126 percent profit improvement versus their competitors. It’s not just about the purchase. It’s about finding why it was made and how to encourage repeat purchases more often, so data helps delve into the whys and target customers more effectively with offers they want.

As 48 percent of Millennials expect brands to customize offers to suit their needs, and 39 percent will go out of their way to use a customized offer vs. 32 percent of other age groups (American Express), brands must get better at offering personalized offers and utilizing the data to determine what the most effective reward delivered where they want them.

Micro-rewards allow a brand to offer snackable, trackable rewards that are desired, relevant to daily lives, and drive customers back to the store and don’t devalue the brand as discounts and rebates so often do.

With employees, we believe it’s even more important as the happiest employees are 180 percent more energized, 108 percent more engaged, and 50 percent more motivated. Most staggeringly, and as they are 50 percent more productive, the use of the same rewards platform can be doubly effective as they have a deeper understanding of the customer offer and realize the same benefits.

Why are digital rewards more effective in all customer engagement activities?

Goldworn: Digital rewards are effective because it allows brands to engage with the customer repeatedly over time, instead of waiting months or years for them to accumulate points and redeem for one large item, which gives the customer reasons to return to the site multiple times. Once a member downloads, our average loyalty program member returns to thefirstclub.com 14X per year, allowing the brand 14 opportunities to communicate new offers, benefits, and messages with every visit to the site and confirmation email. 

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