Whether you are a brand that already has a loyalty initiative or contemplating a new program, it is imperative for you to consider the six technology trends that will impact how successful you can be with your loyalty initiatives. Amidst this change one phrase that is still not a clichÃ© is, â€˜its not your father's Oldsmobile'.
Here are 6 tips to consider when creating loyalty programs for this ever changing world:
1)Â Â Â Free yourself from the handcuffs of old world technology – The advent of very scalable new information technologies that can support millions of users is here. One often hears the term â€˜Google Scale' and is a default standard for loyalty applications. Embrace it or be left behind.
2)Â Â Â Cost Efficient Platforms – Think Op-Ex and not Capex – That which was prohibitively expensive is now within the reach of every brand. The advent of cloud computing has enabled disruptive technology providers to provide sophisticated and innovative loyalty solutions as â€˜pay as you go' services. Now there is no reason to postpone your adoption of loyalty initiatives.
3)Â Â Â Internet goes mobile – The staggering pace of smart phone adoption has made it easier for brands to engage with customers. This is everything from downloadable mobile apps to secure non-card mobile payment methods. The ability for program members to redeem their rewards is now as easy as carrying their mobile phone.
4)Â Â Â Virtual Merchant Networks – Building a merchant network to facilitate redemption used to take its toll on Brands considering building a loyalty program on their own. Brands had to settle for weak redemption programs run by third parties that didn't offer the rewards that the brand manager wanted. The advent of web services and API's has broken this barrier and is all set to take out any middlemen that take the punch out of the budget allocated for loyalty and redemption. Take control and build your own virtual merchant network within minutes by flipping some switches.
5)Â Â Â Social Networks and Loyalty Networks – The rapid growth of social networking platforms has enabled the opportunity for Brands to convert these social networks into loyalty networks. The ability for Brands to connect with new and synergistic affinity groups via social networks of their customers' means that loyalty will never again be just a retention tool. In fact, it is the latest and greatest weapon for customer acquisition.
6)Â Â Â Big Loyalty Programs mean Big Data Sets – As they say, the proof is in the pudding! Having the best infrastructure to deliver great loyalty initiatives to your member base would not mean anything unless you can intelligently mine the data that will flow through this infrastructure to reveal what your members are doing and likely to do. Thankfully, we have powerful new Big Data mining tools that provide the capability to process vast amounts of data and distill them to produce useful and actionable strategies.
In a series of continuing blogs, we will begin to explore each of the above trends in more detail to understand them better.
If you want to discover new ideas and strategies, focused on marketing, social media, loyalty and engagement strategy then check out Loyalty World USA, October 29th-31st in Las Vegas.