Loyalty benefits are often thought of as offers that kick in before the shopping trip and discounts which are taken at the register. Rarely are they thought of as being delivered in the midst of the shopping experience.

These days, there’s no reason why it has to be that way. Consumers are gradually being asked to scan bar codes at self-checkout or to check prices, and retailers are learning how to monitor self-scanning.

This matters because before you get to the store, and by the time you’ve arrived at checkout, the timing isn’t ideal to provide customers with offers and advertising. The moment to communicate, build trust, and make an offer is optimal when the decision is actually being made.

In the shopping cart

Studies show that 50-70% of purchasing decisions are made at the shelf, not before, meaning that there is ample time and motive for merchants to climb into the shopping cart. When you add technology to determine in-store location, being along for the ride with the customer is the best place to be.

The implications are enormous. As customers grow comfortable with linking their loyalty reward accounts to other accounts and information, it becomes easy for a retailer to say, “Your son’s birthday is next week. Do you have the cake?” as they pass the bakery. Similarly, customers can be enticed to try new products based on their social connections’ likes.

Customers respond to convenience, and there’s nothing more convenient than being able to get the best offers from manufacturers and retailers at the time the purchase decision is being made. As we grow used to climbing into the shopping cart, we’ll wonder how we ever did it any other way.

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