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As brands seek to build deeper relationships with their customers and differentiate themselves from competitors, “adding value” is a key consideration for marketers as we move deeper into the new year. Value can come in many forms, but as companies and consumers navigate economic uncertainty, marketers look to enhance their loyalty strategies, and data and privacy regulations evolve, brands must provide value to keep customers engaged and drive brand loyalty.
With many years of customer loyalty technology and strategy experience under its belt, Comarch is a technology-driven customer loyalty platform provider and strategic partner for its clients across various verticals, from retail, to fuel, travel, and more.
Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty360, had the opportunity to speak with Christopher Sandstrom, Director of Growth & Strategy for Americas for Comarch, about trends in customer loyalty they expect brands to focus on throughout 2023.
Guiding Customer Engagement with Personalized Interactions
New trends in customer loyalty continually point toward personalizing interactions with every customer. Loyalty members want to feel like the brand understands and meets their unique needs and interests.
Comarch helps their clients leverage technology to create this kind of personalization. Using first-party data collected through the loyalty program, Comarch’s platform provides suggestions designed to enhance users’ experiences beyond their purchase behaviors.
“Loyalty is much more than just points and rewards,” says Sandstrom. “It’s taking the customer experience beyond the typical loyalty transaction and inserting yourself into the lives of your customers in a non-intrusive way.” This kind of experience comes through collecting actionable data and using it to effectively engage with those customers. For example, Comarch helps support a program for ExxonMobil which sends a push notification alerting members to the nearest Mobil gas station when their gas tanks are running low.
“Brands need to be able to aid and add value to everyday life, not just tell customers to purchase the next item,” says Sandstrom.
Meaningful Partnerships Increase Program Engagement
While there are many trends in customer loyalty brands can rely on to increase customer engagement — new features, functionality, or gamification — Comarch is seeing many brands benefit from strategic partnerships.
In the retail space — especially among grocers — partnerships add value to the customer experience. As new loyalty trends point to engaging customers in their everyday behaviors and purchases, brands can build loyalty through allowing members to earn and use rewards points at strategic partner locations.
“For example, we’re seeing customers earn points at the grocery and use them to fill up a gas tank,” says Sandstrom. “Being able to earn and burn with other programs is significant.”
These kinds of partnerships capitalize on gathering and understanding customer data then using it to determine which brands those customers use often. They create another layer of personalization, improving customer experience by helping them earn with daily transactions and save on necessary purchases.
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