Customers are more savvy and particular than ever before, so it’s up to brands to keep up.

Engaging customers with a rewards system is an art all by itself — an art that we know well. But before you can start rewarding them, first you have to meet their growing expectations. Evolving technology and modern perceptions have led to an emphasis on five important factors: mobility, brand experience, speed, transparency and choice. Let’s take a closer look:

To even register on a customer’s radar, you need to be able to reach them wherever they are. By the end of 2017, it’s estimated that 60% of e-commerce visits will begin on a mobile device. It’s all about immersive experiences — brand campaigns must integrate mobile tech to guide consumers through the sales funnel. Of course, it’s easier said than done. UserTesting’s VP of Marketing Brian Smith points out: “In a world dominated by mobile-first companies like Uber and Lyft, retailers are playing catch up. They have a legacy brick and mortar model and so many customer touchpoints." But by leveraging an agile mobile platform, retailers can respond quickly to consumer learnings and focus on creating the best user experience possible.

Brand Experience
In a saturated marketplace, a strong brand is essential to help customers navigate through their infinite choices and choose what they connect to. But it goes beyond logos and slogans — brands must build a community for customers to belong to and believe in. As online shopping becomes more prevalent, in-store experiences must evolve to create unique and valuable experiences for customers. Starbucks, for example, does a good job creating a welcoming space that encourages the face-to-face connection people crave.

Immediacy is the name of the game. From communications to point of sales, companies need to keep up with the pace of consumers. People have already come to expect a slew of integrated time-savers: AI purchase predictions, instant delivery, immediate customer service — the list goes on. Apps like Venmo, WeChat and Instagram are bridging the gap between social communication and online retail, and brands need to be ready for it.

Customers care about a lot more than just your product. They want to know where you sourced your materials, how it was made, what your values and beliefs are, etc. If you’re not releasing that information, people will assume you have something to hide. In a recent study, 39% of respondents said they’d switch from their current brand to a more transparent one. As an interesting sidenote, the biggest proponents of transparency were found to be millennial moms, with 86% saying they’d pay more for a product with full transparency.

Customers have more control over every aspect of their purchase than ever before. Product suggestion technology can serve up a wide variety of options and even help make informed decisions for users. The more preferences, the better when it comes to customer experience. Companies need to find ways to scale their brand across millions of people, each simultaneously receiving millions of personalized messages.
Clearly, the modern consumer expects a lot from the companies they do business with. But that expectation also opens up a lot of opportunity to further engage your customers and build brand loyalty.

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