In its just released report -- Inflection Points: Seizing the Moments in Customer Loyalty – Aimia found that the most effective loyalty programs consider each interaction a customer has with a brand, extending beyond a single purchase or discrete program.

Amid weak U.S. August retail sales, the report says some retailers are increasing their investment in traditional transaction-based loyalty efforts based on rewarding customers after their purchases. Aimia believes that some brands are missing the opportunity to use the insights from pre-and-post purchase interactions to build customer loyalty.

Despite variances in verticals and geographies, Aimia found that the most successful loyalty marketers execute on the following three things:

Link customer data to search to predict and provide both customers and potential customers with relevant, timely, and personalized offers

Capture customer data and information throughout the purchase process -- from the initial browsing to purchase and post-transaction

Recognize and reward customers who provide their data and preferences through the entire purchase cycle

“Aimia’s data shows that the best loyalty programs can increase a brand’s market share by 20% and improve customer acquisition by up to 10%,” Stephanie Swain, Vice President, Retail, for Aimia, said in a press release. “In Inflection Points, we provide marketers with a clear overview of the best practices that will transform their customers’ experiences and build loyalty.”

Here are Aimia’s 10 key inflection points:

   1. Before they walk in the door: Learn as much as you can about your customers and their interactions with your brand before they even make a purchase decision

    2. At the first sign of trouble: Things can go wrong in a new relationship -- but leveraging data can help retailers employ tactics to save the relationship

    3. During a life change: Use what you know about your customers’ lives to tailor rewards programs to personal milestones

    4. When they join your loyalty program: The moment a customer decides to join a program, the experience must be executed flawlessly

   5. At the first sign of life: Act on insight from early loyalty program interactions

    6. During program redemptions: Deliver a flawless redemption process to keep customers coming back for more

    7. During make-good opportunities: Failures are inevitable, so your response to a negative experience is critical to keeping the customer loyal

    8. When you exceed expectations: Customers often anticipate the bare minimum in service, and appreciate even modest efforts to exceed expectations

    9. When you anticipate their needs: Connect the dots through data and analytics to identify future needs

   10. When they sing your praises: Reward and recognize best customers and turn them into vocal advocates

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