Why authenticity is the key ingredient for a successful loyalty program

Shoppers are losing interest in generic loyalty programs. The average U.S household participates in 21.9 programs, but uses less than half of those memberships actively (Colloquy, October 2015).

Loyalty scheme fatigue in the UK means that across just three programs — Tesco Clubcard, Nectar and Boots advantage — £4.5 billion worth of loyalty points have gone "dormant". 

Discerning customers are seeking intelligent loyalty programs that meet and then exceed their demands day in day out. The best programs aren’t relying on points anymore, and instead are using immediate tangible rewards, and the promise of an increasingly personalized customer experience to promote loyalty amongst customers.

Points schemes that fail to offer tangible benefits no longer resonate with customers. Expectations are rising all the time and to enthuse customers about your loyalty program you need to make it compelling, intuitive and authentic to your brand. Here's three tips to set your loyalty program apart:

Invest in Personalization

Researchers at Experian found that 53% of US companies with loyalty programs saw a need for greater personalization. Customers today want to be treated like individuals and see through spammed messages. Take a 1:1 approach when talking to customers through loyalty programs to keep them engaged.

Focus on Engagement

Purchases can no longer be the only data point feeding into loyalty schemes. Has your customer written a review on your site? Do they like your Facebook page? Take a 360 degree look at where customers are engaging with your brand and reward them for that. At the end of the day, you need to provide value to earn and retain loyal customers.

Build a Community

A loyalty program creates an engaged community of shoppers if you are tracking customer engagements across all relevant channels. Being on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. allows customers to interact with your brand in a new way and ultimately makes them become advocates of your brand.  

Authenticity goes a long way with customers, and with brand loyalty declining, developing specific benefits and advantages that sets your program apart from competitors will be key in driving retention and promoting loyalty. Blanket propositions aren’t appealing anymore.

Businesses that shape their program around brand, messages and retention goals will be able to win more customers and leave them wanting to come back for more time and again.