Clarus Commerce Discusses the Rise of Premium Loyalty | Q&A and Webinar Preview with Carlos Dunlap-Beard

According to Clarus Commerce’s new study, “The Rise Of Premium Loyalty: What Do Your Customers Expect in 2020?”, research shows that two-thirds of consumers say their loyalty is more difficult to maintain than ever before. This statistic may come as a surprise to some, but today’s reality is that not only do consumers have more choices which makes loyalty to a single brand difficult to maintain, but these different options for consumers have become more convenient, easier to access, and faster to have in hand than ever before.

As brands look to keep up with the competition and differentiate themselves, they have come to realize that loyalty is about more than a program. So, how can brands build stronger and long-term loyalty with their best customers?

To answer this question and more, Loyalty360 recently had the chance to speak to Carlos Dunlap-Beard for an overview of Clarus Commerce, his view on customer loyalty, and a brief preview on what attendees can learn during the July 16th webinar focused on the rise of premium loyalty.

To hear more from Carlos on the rise of premium loyalty and reserve your spot for the July 16th webinar, click here.

Can you give us an introduction to Clarus Commerce (what you do, how you do it, industries you work with), and your role with the company?

Clarus Commerce focuses on helping retailers create premium loyalty programs. These types of programs deliver a superior member experience for consumers and significant, measurable, financial benefits for brands – with very little financial exposure. Clarus not only works with our retail partners to build and develop fully customized programs, but we also manage and optimize the programs from launch to infinity.

This includes ideation & strategy, program design & build, dedicated account management with quarterly business reviews & continued optimization, program reporting, analytics, fraud detection/prevention, project management, competitive analysis, call center/customer support (tier 1 and tier 2), employee and call center training, and PCI & GDPR compliance – All at no charge.

At Clarus, I’m the Vice President of Loyalty Solutions and that means I work with our retail partners to design the best possible program to impact consumer loyalty, change behaviors, and deliver meaningful and measurable incrementality – Traffic and shopping trips, frequency, AOV, and better retention. In addition to new partners, I work with existing ones to help them innovate and keep their programs fresh and relevant so that members renew. I love helping our clients get from where they are to where they ultimately want to be in terms of customer loyalty and engagement.

How does Clarus define premium loyalty? What are the main differences between “premium” and “traditional” loyalty?
A premium loyalty program is one where consumers pay a membership fee to join in exchange for immediate, enhanced benefits that they can start using right away. Free and return shipping, instant discounts, and cashback on every purchase are some of the typical transactional benefits offered. Experiential benefits can take the form of VIP checkout and customer service, meet the designer events, trips to the retailer’s headquarters, and other members’ only events. This type of program delivers a superior value proposition to consumers and immediate positive financial returns for brands.

Some examples of these programs are Lululemon’s new loyalty program, GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards Pro, Bed Bath, and Beyond’s Beyond+, CVS’ CarePass, the RH Members Program and, of course, Amazon Prime. We believe that the traditional loyalty model alone, of purely transaction first for benefits later, doesn’t create loyalty to the brand. It just creates loyalty to the discounts themselves, no matter what brand is offering them. Retailers must learn to adapt to meet customer expectations to allow the brand to stay relevant and necessary to the consumer. That’s why we’re seeing more retailers launching premium loyalty programs.

These programs offer an elite level of status, rewards, and benefits that result in a superior value proposition for consumers and significant point of differentiation for the brand, and the beauty is that a premium loyalty program can be stacked onto an existing free program as the highest tier. The best of the brand for your best customers.

On July 16, you will be sharing findings from Clarus’ latest whitepaper, The Rise of Premium Loyalty – What Do Your Customers Expect in 2020? Can you share a brief overview of what you plan to share during the webinar?
We surveyed 2500 consumers to get their thoughts on premium loyalty and I’m excited to share those findings with other Loyalty360 members. First, I’m going to explain how premium loyalty is different than traditional loyalty and how these programs can not only drive more engagement over time but how they’re profitable from day one. Then, we’re going to dive into the good stuff and go through the most important data in the study.

What are a few key takeaways attendees can expect to learn from your presentation and Clarus’ latest whitepaper on the rise of premium loyalty?
How do consumers feel about paying for a loyalty program? Which categories are they likely to enroll in? What benefits motivate them to join – And stay in the program? How do these programs impact the shopping habits of millennials? Then, the big question – How can free and premium loyalty programs work together? We’re going to answer all of those questions. It’s great to talk about what we think as marketers, but I’m going to take everyone through what actual consumers think.

Who do you believe would benefit most from attending the webinar?
I think any retail marketer that wants to challenge the loyalty status quo and get innovative in 2021 and beyond would benefit from attending. This has been a challenging year and loyalty will be more critical than ever. That’s even more of a reason to think differently going forward. If you’re interested in new ways to build long-term loyalty with your best customers, in a way that’s immediately profitable without a lot of upfront financial burden, this webinar is for you.
Don’t forget, this Loyalty360 webinar is free to attend! Click here to reserve your spot. After the webinar we will send everyone a copy of the recording. We look forward to seeing you there!

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