Boosting loyalty membership in the digital age

Guy Deslandes
e-Commerce Sales Director
Collinson Latitude, part of Collinson Group
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Digital technology has transformed how brands market their products and services to consumers and, vice versa, how consumers engage with brands. Looking specifically at the travel industry, a few examples spring to mind – like hotel brand Marriott embracing Snapchat to reach younger consumers, or airline Emirates introducing interactive amenity kits for its passengers.

The loyalty space is by no means exempt from digital disruption and technology has had a considerable impact on loyalty programmes over the ages. In today’s hyper-connected world, loyalty managers need a solid grasp of what it means to effectively engage with their members via digital if they want to maximize the value potential of their programmes. An important first step in doing so is keeping abreast of the latest loyalty member attitudes to all things digital, before defining how best to reach your audience.

To find out more about the impact of digital technology on loyalty programmes, Collinson Latitude, a Collinson Group company, commissioned a study among 2,500 loyalty members worldwide and the results revealed a number of interesting user insights. One of the most prominent findings was that 71% of respondents favour brands that are early adopters of new technology – an indication of how being at the forefront of digital can by association position brands in a more positive light among audiences.   

For those keen to make the most of digital technology within your own loyalty programme, here are three important tips drawn from our study that you should consider:

  1. Understand the power of multichannel engagement

In our survey, the majority (43%) of Millennial loyalty programme members said they prefer to shop online for goods and services, rather than in-store – an indication of the huge shift that e-commerce is driving for overall consumerism. However this is not to say that loyalty managers should disregard offline just yet – 60% of all members surveyed said being able to utilise points both online and in-store is either ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to them.

The important thing to note is that loyalty programmes are no longer in silo. They’re part of a wider ecosystem of multichannel touch points between member and brand. At the same time, to engage with younger demographics that show preferences for online, loyalty managers need to connect and build engagement with members in new and innovative ways – using the platforms this audience prefers.

  1. Create high-quality and positive online experiences       

Online channels have transformed the way that we communicate with each other, and this is especially true when it comes to how we communicate with loyalty programmes. According to our survey, an overwhelming 85% of members prefer interacting with their favourite loyalty programmes online – which shows a clear preference from members to engage in their own time and at their own convenience.

So, with online being perhaps the most important key medium for programme managers to communicate with their members, it goes without saying that they should do their utmost to ensure that websites, platforms and apps are intuitive and interesting for members to engage with. True value and success lies in creating high-quality and positive online experiences that members genuinely enjoy engaging with.

  1. Build trust to enable engagement

Across the board, brands are gaining increased access to a wealth of information on consumers, and loyalty programme members are no exception. According to our survey, 75% of Millennial loyalty members are concerned about data security. Although, when it comes to their loyalty programmes, the majority (49%) of Millennials are willing to exchange personal data in return for rewards.

Whilst it’s important for loyalty managers to showcase the breadth and depth of the rewards offered by their programmes, trust should be viewed as a pre-requisite for any form of member engagement. By having an in-depth understanding of data security concerns and ensuring that members feel safe, loyalty managers can start to establish and maintain trust between their programmes and members.

At times, digital technology may seem unpredictable, hard to keep up with and at times, even slightly overwhelming. However, given the digital world that we now live in, programme managers need to stay focused on the member requirements, and the opportunity that lies within. ‘With member attitudes and preferences to digital firmly on your radar, maximising the engagement and effectiveness of your loyalty programme can be considerably easier to accomplish.

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