With 3.8 million retail establishments in the U.S. alone, it’s not difficult to feel like a small fish in a very large pond (that’s more like an ocean). So how is a brand supposed to stand out in this crowded sea of retail? One word: loyalty.
According to Nielsen, 67% of customers shop more frequently and spend more at retailers with a loyalty program. That said, all loyalty programs are not created equal. If you’re struggling to stand out in the open waters of retail, give these tactics a try.
Drive personalized experiences with a deluge of data
To ramp up your retail loyalty efforts, you have to go deeper than “Hi, [insert name here]” in every email. Yet only 51% of brands believe they have the right amount of data to drive personalization efforts. If you’re part of the other 49%, dig deeper to take advantage of the data you already have and think broader for other opportunities to collect customer data (profile preferences, surveys, contests). Every data point you have can help create a unique and personalized customer experience. (And if you’re struggling, drop us a line.)
Barnes & Noble’s paid loyalty program is particularly great at using purchase data to keep things relevant. For example, B&N Rewards members receive monthly email notifications with new book recommendations based on previous buys. Read a psychological thriller for your book club last month? B&N will probably suggest something like Gillian Flynn’s latest work. By serving up curated content that speaks to each customer’s personal experiences, B&N is able to keep customers engaged while also inspiring future purchases.
Make waves with exclusive experiences and offers
Nothing makes customers feel more special than being privy to exclusive offers reserved just for them. In a recent survey by BRP Consulting, 68% of customers said they would choose a store that provides personalized discounts over one that doesn’t.
Consider department stores Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, which offer loyalty members additional discounts, bonus points, and early access to the best sales of the year. This kind of exclusive access is relatively simple, but can have a huge impact in building emotional loyalty (as noted by BRP). Make your customers feel like an insider with simple but exclusive opportunities (like product parties or personalized discounts) to make a big splash in the retail pool.
Pro tip: Loyalty program enrollment will likely surge before a special event or sale, so make sure you have the proper marketing partner to help you stay organized, segment your audience, and reel them in.
Dive into user-generated content
One of the best and most important ways to stand out is to genuinely engage with your audience — wherever they are. For many customers, this means social media. If and when customers tag your brand in their photos, use it as an opportunity to connect. Go beyond simple engagement (likes, comments, etc.) by sharing this user-generated content (UGC) via your own channels.
When it comes to great examples of user-generated content, the Vans Family loyalty program knows its customers’ connection with its brand goes deeper than just shoes. That’s why it encourages members to share the story of their first pair of Vans (along with an image or two), as well as weigh in on other fun, but brand-relevant topics (first concert, favorite band). Some of those submissions even get shared via Vans’ own social channels, and customers get some extra points towards their next pair, making it a win-win for both parties.
When implemented properly, personalization through purchase history, exclusive experiences and offers, and superb content engagement can help you float to the top of the vast retail ocean and establish a deeper bond between your customers and your brand. See how Cheetah Digital can help you master the art of emotional loyalty and connect with your customers like never before.
As a platform technology company, Cheetah Digital combines robust data management and cross-channel communication abilities with dedicated, in-house professional services. We help marketers execute complex, enterprise-scale marketing programs and effectively drive lasting customer loyalty. We are a business partner to the world’s best brands, and have employees across 13 countries.