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Digital technology has been on the minds of various CEOs in recent years. Just last year, Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares talked about how digital technology is changing the way people shop, impacting customer engagement at every turn.
“There is no doubt that digital technology is transforming retail and the way customers shop,” Temares said last year. “For example, customers may now start their shopping experience with us online or through a mobile device to research an item, read customer reviews, or compare price. Then they may go on to visit a store and interact with one of our associates before placing an order online or purchasing the item in the store. The evolution of omnichannel retailing has created a more seamless and personalized shopping experience for customers. At Bed Bath & Beyond, we have been committed to creating such an experience for quite some time.”
The pace of digital technology among loyalty marketers has accelerated.
Consider Collinson Latitude’s new study, Loyalty Commerce in a Digital Age, that surveyed 2,500 loyalty program (travel, hospitality and retail banking) members worldwide about the impact digital technology is having on loyalty.
More than eight in 10 (85 percent) of members prefer interacting with their favorite loyalty program online.
Seven in 10 (71 percent) favor brands that are early adopters of new technology.
What’s more, 63 percent of respondents believe that having a wide range of rewards and offers (including lounge access, insurance, and priority boarding) is the most important aspect of a loyalty program.
“Loyalty programs can no longer get away with segregating people into groups – the modern consumer wants to be treated as an individual, not just as a number,” the study says. “With this in mind, loyalty programs need to start thinking about who their members really are and what they really want. By utilizing the program, contextual, and behavioral data, loyalty programs can create highly personalized experiences by offering a wide range of rewards and offers that meet the demands of all its members.”
While this new technology opens the door for brands to build stronger and more rewarding relationships with consumers, the study says, “it also closes the door for the brands who don’t.”
“Brands that embrace digital technology not only have the ability to communicate with consumers through more channels than ever before, but they also show that they are modern, consumer-focused businesses wanting to build relationships,” said Guy Deslandes, e-commerce sales director at Collinson Latitude.
An interesting finding in the study reveals that nearly 80 percent of baby boomers use a laptop or desktop computer as a means of making a financial payment or transaction.
“The payment process is a particularly important stage of the buying cycle for brands, as if it is too complicated, or lacks credibility; consumers will simply give up and go elsewhere,” said James Berry, e-commerce director at Collinson Latitude. “These results show a real comfort across the generations with online financial transactions, and this comfort will translate into increased comfort with online transactions in general, which is a real positive for the loyalty commerce industry and, in particular, brands that offer a safe and secure online shopping environment for their members.”
What’s more, 85 percent of respondents indicated they want to interact with their favorite brands via online channels.
“The fact that consumers prefer connecting with loyalty programs through online channels demonstrates how people prefer to communicate with brands in their own time and at their own convenience,” said Jessica Russell, e-commerce manager at Collinson Latitude.
The following is among the study’s key conclusions:
“A truly innovative and customer-focused brand is a brand that never stops listening – with data fueling the desire to improve along the way,” the study says. “With programs rich with data, be it program, contextual, or behavioral, delivering the right content, at the right time and on the right device is an achievable goal – and a challenge that should be readily accepted. With this challenge comes the potential for greater engagement and revenue generation if, of course, a multichannel experience can be delivered consistently and in line with member requirements.”
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