Loyalty programmes are a way for businesses to encourage customers to continue to use their products or services, but they also allow businesses to gather important data on their customers and their customer's behaviour. From collecting data businesses can interpret trends, reward loyalty and influence buying behaviour. One company that is doing this extremely successfully in the United States is Sears.
Sears has implemented a huge big data program to drive customer loyalty and understand its customers. Sears' use of the open-source Hadoop analytics platform has enabled the company to capture, analyse, and report on customer activity across all 4,000 locations.
In a recent feature on Forbes.com Dr. Phil Shelley, CTO at Sears Holdings Corporations said that this platform makes it possible for the company to keep all its customers' history to the tiniest detail â€” "every customer, every SKU, every store, every point of history for as long as you want to and do statistical analysis on it. With Hadoop there really isn't any restriction."
The outcome has proved Sears strategy a winner with their loyalty program having 80 million members and an 8 digit active member base. Being able to analyse member purchase history they have been successful communicating in a more relevant and targeted manner with their customers leading to members shopping more frequently and spending more per transaction.
John Perrone, Sears VIP and Clubs Loyalty Marketing Manager, told Forbes that it isn't just about growing customer loyalty programs but effective customer engagement. He is quoted as saying: "They're giving up their email or their mobile phone number to interact with us, and as long as we, the brand and the loyalty program, reply back with relevant information and information in the channel that this customer prefers, it's a very successful engagement and interaction with that customer."
Loyalty programs and big data together can provide businesses with enormous insight and communication into their product, service and customer and help them stand out in a sometimes difficult and crowded marketplace. The data is already in the company’s' laps, they just have to know how to use it effectively.