Zinrelo’s leadership in loyalty rewards is contingent upon its expertise and adaptability. Founder Jai Rawat recently spoke with Loyalty360 about the strategies needed to stay relevant in the present landscape.
Rawat believes the future of customer loyalty is difficult to predict. A possible future, he noted, is brands generating a network effect. He indicated that the airline industry has successfully implemented strategies to achieve such an effect, but that similar attempts by retailers such as Plenti have thus far failed. “I think there is an opportunity to create something similar in the retail space as well,” he states. “It’s just that no one has figured out how to do it right. Yet.”
On the subject of data compliance, Rawat insists that “there has to be more transparency . . . especially in light of all the data breaches that have happened.” Consumers have a right to know what’s going on and see for themselves whether or not their privacy is being abused. “We believe it’s really important for the customers to know what data is being collected, what’s being stored, how it is being stored, and how it is being used.”
Rawat notes that data compliance can be a challenge for the mid and small size brands that Zinrelo serves. The typical upstart cannot afford a dedicated tech and legal team to ensure that the company is heeding all relevant regulations. “On the flip side,” he says, “because they are smaller, they are less likely to be the target of hack.”
Much of Zinrelo’s focus is on getting new customers to make repeat purchases, but the company also uses rewards to reengage customers who have become inactive. Rawat provides an example. “We added some bonus rewards to inactive customers’ accounts and said, ‘Hey Bob, you’ve got some rewards. Santa came early this year; you have ten dollars’ worth of loyalty rewards sitting in your account.’”
Such unexpected gestures can reactivate shoppers who haven’t made a purchase in many months. The company’s data-driven approach is empowering brands to create powerful marketing promotions engines and to craft promotional strategies. Rawat states that strategies like these are proving to be more successful than anyone had imagined.
Interestingly (and perhaps provocatively), Rawat believes that “the standard customer journey funnel doesn’t apply anymore.” At least in the customer retention space, he has seen that it makes sense to begin considering the customer at the point of first purchase. That first purchase “is really where the customer journey starts for us.” The goal, he says, is to make every new customer 10 times more valuable.
Rawat has observed that bigger brands have become aware of the importance of loyalty in recent times (“in the last six months or so”), but that for mid and small brands “the education level is not quite there yet.” He says that “when we talk to them, typically, customer loyalty is not something that they’re thinking about. When we show them the numbers . . . and show them that they’re losing 80 percent of the customers that they’re acquiring, it’s eye-opening.”
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