How Loyalty Programs Can Adapt to Digital Evolution

Digital transformation is happening everywhere among loyalty marketers. How should a brand’s loyalty program adapt to the digital evolution process? Loyalty360 talked to Ron Orgiefsky, Managing Director USA, emnos, about this intriguing topic.
Can you talk about how loyalty programs are currently adapting, or should adapt, to the rapid digital evolution?
Orgiefsky: As loyalty programs are there to drive long-term customer engagement with your brand, it is important to engage with people as they want to engage today, and that is in large part digitally. I think there are three important callouts loyalty programs should consider:
Leverage automation wherever possible. Many retail loyalty programs are automating the enrollment process via a tablet at checkout and are moving to self-service kiosks. These can help customers to gain digital access to the program either by giving their email address or downloading the program’s app to unlock special offers. In turn, loyalty programs can capture a wider set of members with their offers and engagement tools.
Real-time analytics
Real-time offer marketing is here. As customers walk into the store, identification and triangulation of each shopper allows real-time in-memory analytics to power a complete offer-marketing engine to deliver relevant, personalized content to shoppers as they shop.
Go mobile
Mobile is the first path for so many consumers now and must be central to any marketing strategy. While there are many touch points and channels by which retailers can engage with members of their loyalty program, mobile usage creates the recency of information providing up-to-date data that enables personalized offers to be more relevant.
How does triangulation fit into this equation and how does it help in location-based targeting and engagement with customers?
Orgiefsky: In a mobile-driven economy and ecosystem, I like to think of customer engagement happening continually, whether on the move or instore ready to shop.

There are many location-based opportunities to target customers on the move. Geo-targeting and geo-fencing are two options which allow a loyalty program’s members to be targeted within a region via the loyalty program app.

In addition, beacons installed on advertisements at transit stops, inside malls, or on the street allow retailers to push relevant offers and promotional content to members near stores to drive foot traffic.

Instore is where aisle-level triangulation kicks in. Installing beacons to locate customers and push specific SKU or brand-led offers in aisle can help with that last mile of personalized marketing. This opportunity leverages collaboration with CPG companies, where offers are tailored for the right customers and the promotional interest of the CPG players can benefit the retailer.

At the end of the day, it should not be an either/or strategy, but a strategy of and. Connecting on the move and instore.
What makes this ecosystem work? What other elements make it a successful proposition?
Orgiefsky: The digital ecosystem creates exponentially more data that helps build a holistic picture of the customer. Harnessing this data with the appropriate tools, expertise, and technology is the key to making all this work.

The holistic view of a customer using a mobile phone becomes central to the strategic plan and product roadmaps. Then, personalization and relevance can be achieved with intelligent data analytics. Big data analysis is already moving towards guided insights that enable decision making. Loyalty programs also need to focus on offer marketing decisions that quickly roll out more targeted campaigns with higher frequency.

Consumers are constantly discovering new information or offers, what we call “content.” By deploying and properly leveraging a fully digital loyalty program, retailers can capitalize on the ever growing, captivated online audience by serving the right content at the right time via the right touch-points to continue to win with customers. 

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