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Kobie Marketing is a global leader in loyalty and rewards initiatives design, management, and consulting. Their unique strategies, technologies, and program management allows them to assist brands in the best way possible.
Loyalty360 sat down with Mara Kelly, Vice President of Customer Strategy, to discuss the shifting retail landscape, the road ahead, and the loyalty strategies that are most relevant today.
Why has the retail industry been hit so hard in times of the “Amazon boom?” Is it from a lack of adjustments or simply a sign of the times?
It’s a combination, but those retailers that are willing to adapt are seeing success. Those that focus on the customer, convenience, relevant content, competitive pricing -- and that are willing to partner with Amazon if their own infrastructure cannot support those functions -- are those that are not just surviving, but thriving. At the end of the day, the retailers who win and retain customers are those who anticipate and solve common customer pain points.
Will personalization become more or less popular in retail in the coming years?
We're seeing more personalization in marketing communications across industries, and loyalty programs are helping retailers personalize content, promotions and the overall experience. One of the strongest benefits of loyalty programs is the ability to gather accurate data about loyal customers' shopping behaviors and preferences to better personalize experiences to them. Whether through a traditional swipe card, a mobile app or other model, brands need loyalty programs to deliver the most memorable experiences to returning shoppers, and these experiences are only going to become more personalized as retailers collect more data and fine-tune their strategies.
Tell us more about the Omni -channel Loyalty approach at Kobie. Is there a specific success story you can tell us in regards to how it helped a business within the industry?
Kobie’s approach is always about the customer and putting their preferred experience first, not about the capabilities of the channel. It is a given that any loyalty strategy or program should be supported and accessible across any touchpoint. We work with clients to ensure that they recognize the most appropriate way to generate enrollment and engage with their members, and this includes testing which channels various members prefer. For example, some clients automatically feel that they need a mobile app. We take a consultative approach to situations such as these to determine whether an app is really necessary or whether we can just add a loyalty component as an extension of their website.
Are there any unique stories you’ve seen recently where a retail business has made the necessary adjustments to drive frequency and store traffic?
Loyalty programs are very popular right now. In fact, a quarter of consumers actively earn and redeem points in more than three programs, according to Kobie Marketing's new research, "Loyalty in the Age of the Connected Consumer." It’s important to keep in mind that a loyalty program will not fix a broken business or truly serve as an acquisition tool, but it can help grow and retain customers as long as the business offers viable and relevant products and services. We have one client that had a variety of assortment and quality issues as well as promotional challenges. Once they fixed the quality of the merchandise, they felt the business was in the right place to launch a program to help them engage and foster customer relationships. By changing their promotional strategy and repositioning their value proposition, they created a points-based program along with other soft benefits that are more closely aligned with their brand mission. Their program has taken off, and business continues to be strong even as they've moved away from the weekly 40 percent off promotions.
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