How can predictive trends reshape the loyalty cycle?

Consumers today are less obsessed with discounts than they were during the financial crisis, last year 65% of consumers said that they would rather have consistently lower prices and have less offers. And when it comes to loyalty and brand advocacy, they are looking for much more. Our report on Brand Magic studied the attributes that inspire advocacy and we found that among millennials, transparency and authenticity are values held in high regard.

 

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Increasingly, when we interact with brands, it takes place via a third party. And this is where our trend Branding Bypass talks about the implications of ‘invisible commerce’ across sectors, which takes the form of tech like Amazon Alexa. As the adoption of auto-replenishment becomes more widespread, how does a brand stay at the forefront of the consumer’s mind and become the default choice? More than that, how does a brand win loyalty by appealing to their customers needs?

Foresight Factory analytics found that personalised promotions and loyalty rewards impacted negatively (by -10%) on the likelihood of brand advocacy. This might be surprising but here’s why: Customer loyalty programmes are successful at driving short term ROI, but their design undermines brand equity by inviting consumers to evaluate their relationship with the brand through the lens of points, discounts and rewards, at the expense of brand storytelling.

How do brands get past this?

There are various drivers throughout the loyalty experience that brands and their marketers and CRM professionals can act upon that benefit the customer and establish a better emotional connection. Establishing this means that there will be less pressure to keep raising the bar in rewards when motivating the customer loyalty. There are three reports on our FFonline platform focused on the following: Acquiring and Activating, Maximise Transaction Frequency and Value and Trends that Drive Long-Term Loyalty.

For acquiring and activating loyalty, we isolated Early Bird Brands – Foresight Factory’s predictive trend that focuses on privileged ‘exclusive’ access to services or products. Global data shows that the appeal of early access is particularly impactful for young American women and men aged 16-29, at 67% and 74% respectively. It stays consistently high at above 50% for women of older generations. We think industries like beauty and retail may find this most beneficial. For example, Sephora’s member’s club is tiered by annual spend with previews to new products for the most loyal spenders.

Once a customer is part of a loyalty programme, maximising transaction value and frequency comes in. Wishlisting is an online based behaviour that speaks to consumer purchasing habits – this is where spend is preceded by exploration, comparisons and ‘pin’ items. Our data points to a significant minority of 17% of global respondents that specifically create digital lists or ‘favourite’ products that they may or may not buy at a later date. For brands, there is an opportunity to encourage customers to wishlist, to then trigger calls to purchase. Nordstrom’s app allows customers to save items and as they are near a store that has those items stocked, push notifications appear that prompt the user to buy.

For long-term loyalty, reward programmes that provide members with a valuable experience can differentiate themselves from competitors. Leisure Upgrade is another Foresight Factory identified and tracked trend, which speaks to consumers’ desire for seeking purposeful activities – 70% of US consumers believe that entertainment should be about learning as much as simply having fun and this is consistently high across global markets. Loyalty programmes can become a reliable way to reward customers with a meaningful experience. Telecom company 02 provides perks, such as exclusive access to entertainment events and further privileges at the venue like discounted drinks. Mastercard rewards active cardholders with spontaneous prizes and reportedly 100, 000 users will have been ‘surprised’ by February 2017. Both are effective at creating brand evangelists as these events are shared on social media. Download our Reshaping Customer Loyalty sample report to find out more.

 

Watch our Marketing Director, Emma Hewage talk about customer loyalty for Trending 2018

 

 

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