Shopping and buying has long been a multi-channel event, with consumers shopping on smartphones, tablets, laptops and in store – often combining more channels for the same brand. Consumers are omni-channel – and they expect brands to be too, as proven in research done by e-commerce giant/mothership/trendsetter E-bay – although we didn’t need them to tell us this – a simple consideration of how we ourselves shop would have done.
Multiple sales channels is one thing – also becoming increasingly important, is brand/consumer interaction on the same channels. All brands want customer loyalty, but this part of the market has been slow in going across all channels despite the huge popularity of loyalty cards and programs, which functionality and cross-channel usability has remained poor. Most are restricted to one of the following:
1. Paper loyalty cards. Cheap but little value to the merchant, who gets no customer information.
2. Plastic cards – they’re costly to implement and tend to come with lengthy registration forms for the customer. For many, this is a turn-off. They don’t want to spend time registering or activating a card or an account.
3. Apps – brand apps, shopping apps, loyalty apps pop up all the time. They too, tend to be expensive for the shop. They are also often restrictive – needing the customer to either faff with the scanning of a QR-code or be close enough to the shop to be registered by a beacon (technology that registers your location).
None of these adequately reflect today’s multi-channel consumer and brand behaviour. A successful loyalty program should be equally multi-channeled. If the brand interacts with consumers on social media, it would be great to give loyalty points there too, right? Or if a brand sees a huge proportion of sales coming from mobile devices – having an app would probably prove popular amongst consumers. For bricks-and-mortars, loyalty points could be given on receipts or on a card – or maybe in an app? Finding out where and how your customers interact with your brand, is important.
We’re seeing an increasing number of so-called ‘Clicks-&-Mortars’ – shops which have physical shops as well as a notable virtual shop – either online, in an app or both. And the days are gone where customers accepted that the shop was in charge – today’s consumers must be met on their turf.
Here at Loyalzoo we’ve just launched a unique offering which lets any business create multi-channel loyalty programs – whether it’s an online retailer, a mobile business or a delivery service, or anything else. It’s the first affordable omni-channel loyalty app. Find out more here – Loyalzoo kiwis.