In a previous post, I offered perspective and guidance on how retailers can gain more value from customer engagement and loyalty programs. The post outlined four foundational questions retailers should ask themselves in regard to their current engagement/loyalty programs. I often ask these same questions during conversations with retailers and one of the questions I’m asked most is “How can I improve our program?”
While this seems like a pretty basic question, the answer often depends on multiple factors (program goals, strategies, etc.). However, there is one constant tool that every retailer needs to deploy and maintain a modern customer engagement/loyalty program: the right software solution.
Selecting a modern customer engagement/loyalty solution
Ultimately, customer engagement/loyalty programs exist to forge lasting, valuable relationships between a brand and an individual consumer. We believe that a consumer engagement/loyalty solution should empower consumers in their interactions with retailers and improve their overall brand experience. Taking the perspective of the consumer at all times during the selection process is key.
Here are 10 customer engagement/loyalty solution must-haves:
- At a bare minimum, choose a solution that supports different types of loyalty programs (based on points, stickers, spending levels, tiers or membership, etc.) out of the box. With a flexible design, a retailer can fine-tune its program to optimally support each phase of the consumer lifecycle, driving customer engagement.
- Look for a solution that understands consumers by combining behavioral, social, demographic and transactional data into a complete and real-time consumer view. Better insights into consumer motives and behaviors will help retailers develop more appealing offers and discounts.
- You’ll need a solution that offers extreme flexibility in how the program can be set up and executed. For example, you’ll want various ways for consumers to register based on the channel they use most. Additionally, a flexible solution can enable discounts to be calculated based on a consumer’s profile, as well as on the check-out touchpoint (more discount when using self-checkout lanes than using traditional checkout lanes).
- Select a multi-dimensional solution that can segment and target based on demographics, psychographics, spending behavior, consumer lifetime value and other consumer attributes. This allows retailers to create an accurate and reliable view of each consumer, focusing marketing efforts on those consumers that contribute most to a retailer’s business, presenting them with targeted, individualized offers at the right time and in the consumer’s preferred shopping channel.
- Find a platform that easily creates and executes campaigns across all channels. Ensure that new channels – as they arise – are able to be simply and quickly included.
- Choose the solution that offers a centralized and feature-rich promotion engine for flawless execution of cross-channel campaigns. This lets retailers issue and redeem coupons in a controlled way across all available touchpoints. Moreover, it ensures that retailers can target promotions to and communicate with their loyalty members in various ways, tailored towards the preferences and needs of each member.
- A solution with the ability to introduce all kinds of gamification elements into campaigns enable prolonged and deeper levels of engagement with individual consumers. This will reduce the likeliness of consumers switching between brands or providers.
- Choose a solution that offers full support for “social listening” across a range of social media channels, enabling a retailer to gauge “the temperature” of its target audience, as well as to enhance its customer base by proactively targeting “unknown” consumers based on their online profiles.
- A solution that takes an integrated approach towards customer management, loyalty management, segmentation & targeting, campaign execution and reporting & analytics is critical. This is very important to capture and gradually improve the ROI of the hundreds of campaigns a retailer is managing simultaneously.
- Select a solution that allows consumers to create communities with like-minded members around specific products or topics of shared interest. This resonates well with “digital natives.” It helps turn happy consumers into loyal brand advocates who willingly and freely share their experiences with friends and family. Word-of-Mouth marketing is an increasingly effective tool to convince other consumers to try and buy a product.
Our comprehensive approach to customer engagement and loyalty leverages consumer data from virtually all touchpoints in a retailer’s IT landscape, providing a single, insightful consumer view. This requires a customer engagement/loyalty solution that seamlessly integrates with consumer-facing touchpoints (digital signage, kiosks, beacons, POS devices and smartphones) as well as with back-end systems that process and store data on transactions, customer data and other retail processes.
At Diebold Nixdorf, we are passionate about helping retailers succeed amidst the ever-changing consumer landscape. We aim to provide retailers with everything they need to not only capture consumer data, but to turn that data into targeted, personalized offers and campaigns.
We are ready to help you revitalize your customer engagement and loyalty program. Let’s start today.