Building customer loyalty into payments
Fast food game stamps, cereal boxtops, airline frequent flyer miles, and punchcards of nearly every type – are all early forms of loyalty. Over time, customer loyalty programs have evolved and rely more on technology than ever before. But the concept has stayed the same: give customers more of what they want, reward them for repeat business, and they will keep coming back.
With the advent of mobile devices and the explosion of ecommerce, it’s more important than ever to build loyalty into technology and overall design so that your program is easy to use and seamless for the customer.
When building loyalty into payments, if you stick to the basics, it’s more simple than you might think. What makes a customer choose your business over a competitor is the overall shopping and checkout experience, not the technology. But technology plays a big part in the customer experience.
How do you know if your loyalty solution is right?
By easy, we mean the route that takes the least effort. For example, one-click shopping, one-click payments and the ability to surf and browse and pay, all with the touch of a button. Using a loyalty program must be just as easy as pulling out a credit or debit card or cash. Anything more complicated and you risk losing your customer.
Customers have the same experience in terms of accessibility and ease of use no matter which vehicle they’re using to shop. Whether they’re buying from your online store, shopping via mobile app, or in your brick and mortar store, they have a consistent and intuitive experience.
Focus on customers who are more likely to respond. Automated data collection provides a wealth of knowledge and insight into shopper’s preferences and buying habits. Use this insight to conveniently channel targeted content and promotions to customers who are in-store or proximate via their mobile phone or nearby digital signage.
Another benefit of using automated data collection is that it speeds up the experience and makes it less cumbersome for both the merchant and the customer. When the intelligence is built into the design, the clerk may not have to ask customers for their information or take additional steps to activate customers’ loyalty benefits.
Cash is perhaps the most anonymous, but new tokenization and encryption methods help to close vulnerabilities in the payment transaction. To customers, a new payment method must be more secure than a traditional card method, and security must be of little to no concern. They need to feel like they’re using the latest, best technology that shows they’re smarter than the criminals.
As humans, we are wired to like rewards. Even if your program includes all of the above, there must be a reason to keep them coming back. That’s where rewards kick in. Programs that include incremental rewards and free stuff that’s of value to them makes your program more rewarding than other types of loyalty programs.
We are at a point in time where technology is moving so rapidly that is seems impossible to keep pace with new developments. Focusing on the basics and working with a payments partner that can help you navigate the complexity helps ease the burden. Technology will continue to evolve, but the basics of loyalty will stay the same.