The Wise Marketer | The Global Voice of Customer Loyalty
The Global Voice of Customer Loyalty - and the only objective source of customer loyalty news, research & thought leadership. The Wise Marketer Founded in 1999, the Wise Marketer content portal is a free and unbiased source of news, research, and best practices on loyalty marketing geared for the global marketing community.
TWM: First, congratulations on the Forrester announcement. That’s a big deal in our world and something a lot of companies covet. But I’m curious, if you can, tell us what you think separated you from the pack, so-to-speak? What were those criteria that caused Forrester to assess Bond like they did?
Scott Robinson (SR): It’s hard to make comparisons. But what we know about ourselves and by the feedback that our clients regularly give us, but also gave us through Forrester. In this evaluation is that we’re leading with our strategy. We have been thinking about what challenges the status quo; our technologies services are leading in this space. And we’ve got a terrific employee culture that creates a great environment for us to do great work for our clients. The Forrester Wave has some 20 different attributes in it and we’re proud to say we were strongly evaluated on many or most of those.
TWM: It’s almost too easy to say that loyalty has changed over the past few years; but as practitioners, can you elaborate on some of the bigger shifts that brands are now having to deal with?
Maria Pallante (MP): One of the things that we’ve recognized is our clients who might have previously been focused on loyalty programs as their mandate have now expanded that. And our offering has expanded along with it. We think about customer experience – and we think about it much more broadly. So, loyalty as an outcome has been the same for us, but even for some of our clients their mandates have grown and they’re thinking about the customer experience in the entire journey. It’s not about the program itself. And we’ve been helping them in that process.
TWM: What if you had to give some advice to brand marketers today on what to look for, or where to go, and how to proceed with next steps to achieve their goals. What are you telling them?
SR: First and foremost is any initiative that you’re designing, planning, or implementing to engage your audience must be an authentic and proper reflection of your brand because your program – your customer engagement initiative’s role, is to deliver the best version of the brand possible to your best customers; and, so the program really needs to be an extension of the brand and a means of the brand fulfilling on its brand promise.
MP: I think, and it seems it might seem trite, but I would say I would encourage people to continue to test and learn. I think sometimes there might be a tendency, where people need to have everything sorted out in the back end – all the technology – in order to be able to make some incremental steps, and what we would say is, take a step. Try something, get a reaction, get a read – because your customers are moving and you need to be doing something to engage them. So, try to test and learn.
SR: The other thing I would add to is that, given the technologies, allowing organizations and brands to have visibility into customer activity that otherwise hadn’t traditionally been available. I mean every single consumer carries around a mobile device and they’re plugged in 24/7.
MP: The opportunity to create value at moments that go beyond just the transaction where traditional loyalty used to play; modern loyalty is a broader look across the entire customer journey and there is a role for a brand’s program to play in much broader ways creating forms of value that really work.
For many accounting professionals, understanding the loyalty program as a liability to the company is hard to avoid given the massive program liability they have to book on the balance sheet.
But under the surface of risk, a healthy and successful loyalty program that contributes to profit is actually a powerful asset. Because a program is a portfolio of members, its value is simply the sum of the value of each member — meaning every member is, in turn, an asset to the company. Just like any other asset, the value of each member is related to the expected profit they will generate in the future, net of the redemption costs implied by the liability.
When loyalty programs are viewed as assets, it becomes clearer why successful businesses utilize them. A loyal (and therefore stable) customer base is more valuable than a high-turnover customer base. A loyalty program that can increase the future profit from its members will directly generate long term financial value for the organization.
What does that mean for program managers and accountants?
It means they should leverage modern tools to focus on growing the expected value of individual members over time (growth in value is often referred to as incremental value). It means they should go beyond liability evaluation and put a higher priority on measuring the program as an asset by implementing the tools to provide future-facing program information to company leaders.
This holistic approach to value creation fosters better, more strategic long-term financial decisions for programs — but is a challenge without predictive technologies that inform Customer Lifetime Values, or CLVs.
KYROS’ suite of tools give you everything you need for true insights into financial reporting and disclosures, monthly accounting, breakage estimation, program liability and customer lifetime values on an on-going basis, so you can go beyond measuring risk to start accurately predicting and influencing program ROI.
Understanding the Importance of Customer Lifetime Value
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) represents the present value of profit, net of redemption costs, created over a program member’s lifetime.
Customer Future Value (CFV), however, is the present value of estimated future profit produced by each program member. The key difference is that CFV omits any known-to-date quantities about a member’s value and focuses solely on future predictions.
Member Equity can be defined as the sum of CFVs across loyalty program members. If we consider the loyalty program a financial asset, then its economic value is equal to member equity.
Calculating the Return on Member Equity (RME) is extremely useful for efficiently directing program investments. Simply put, RME is a measure of the incremental value that the program has created over a given period of time — a healthy, profitable loyalty program will see a large positive RME, indicating that the program is changing member behavior and increasing the lifetime profitability of the membership.
Many companies use a “look-alike” approach to measure the incremental value generated by a loyalty program. By splitting a cohort of similar looking customers into those that join the program and those that do not, they track the difference in behavior over time. The delta between these two populations represents the incremental value.
But there are shortfalls with this approach. Specifically, self selection can significantly distort the results.
RME is another way to quantify incremental value that doesn’t face the self selection issue. The look-alike method compares member performance to a baseline that serves as a proxy for a world where no program exists. RME is similar, in that it compares member performance to some baseline.
The difference is in the baseline.
RME measures the difference relative to status quo member behavior — that is, the behavior if members continued to act as expected based on recent behavioral trends, rather than if they weren’t program members at all.
If the goal of the loyalty program is to change member behavior so they are more loyal and profitable, then RME is a better measure of incremental value because it explicitly states what the baseline expected behavior is.
Common CLV Pitfalls
The importance of customer lifetime value, and having those practices dialed in for your loyalty program can be tricky. Aside from not leveraging the strategy at all, most pitfalls arise from the incorrect use of CLV metrics. Some common errors are:
Assuming CLV is solely historic and not predictive. This error occurs when CLV summarizes cumulative value realized to date, but does not predict expected future value. Without the prediction, the use of CLV is very limited.
CLV is predictive, but it is defined in aggregate. Failing to recognize that each program member behaves differently results in a single CLV to represent the average member rather than calculating a separate CLV for each member. The highest value use cases for CLV are applications to recognize differences in customers. An aggregated view significantly limits the value you can create from CLV analytics.
CLV fails to account for redemption costs. Making this error overstates the CLV, which can result in unsound investment decisions. This lapse also makes it impossible to truly understand redemption cost-benefit trade-offs, making it difficult to convince cost-conscious finance executives of the benefits of investing in loyalty.
Want to avoid these and other loyalty program errors? KYROS helps program managers look past traditional metrics and overcome pitfalls.
The importance of customer lifetime value can’t be overlooked for any forward-thinking loyalty program. That’s why KYROS built the analytics tools that provide predictive scoring at the member level within a on-going, self service dashboard so you can make faster, more strategic decisions for your program.
If each loyalty program member is considered an asset, understanding the value of each asset is critical. Moreover, the ability to accurately measure this value enables smarter management and investment decisions.
The importance of customer lifetime value lies in the context that it can add to your program liability and that it can allow your organization to better evaluate cost-benefit trade-offs. They keep you focused on value maximization rather than cost minimization. For companies with large loyalty programs, the program liability can reach billions of dollars. The program asset helps company executives and senior management understand what they are getting in return.
They also lend insights into ROI for your program marketing — return on member equity (RME) connects program management activities to organizational value, bridging the gap between marketing and finance.
Program managers can also make smarter tactical decisions when they leverage CLV and CFV in member segmentation.
Traditional member segmentation doesn’t make predictions, but groups members based on similar demographic or historical behavioral traits. At best, these segments give you insight into members’ past behavior, but don’t provide much insight into what they’ll do next. Combining the power of segmentation with CLV and CFV data gives you predictive insight into expected future behaviors for these member groups, allowing you to make program decisions that will drive ROI in the long term.
The KYROS dashboard puts this power in the hands of program management in real time to empower smarter business decisions that boost incremental value and lead to stronger programs. For industry-leading tactics that maximize program value, check out the third and final part of KYROS’ loyalty finance series or schedule a consultation with the KYROS team to see the dashboard in action.
Join us for a free webinar from The Wise Marketer and Clarus Commerce as we present findings and strategies from the 2019 Premium Loyalty Data Study.
Retailers ask a lot of questions before they consider offering their customers a Premium Loyalty program. Will my customers pay to be a member? What benefits should I offer? Will this program increase purchase frequency and revenue?
In the 2019 Premium Loyalty Data Study, consumers told us how they feel about Premium Loyalty programs and what they’d like to see more of. If you’re managing your brand’s loyalty program or considering building one, you need to attend this webinar.
In this webinar, you’ll learn about a few key insights:
What consumers expect from a Premium Loyalty program and how it impacts their decisions
How retailers are leveraging consumer data to build successful Premium Loyalty programs
What you can do to create a program that’s right for your consumers and your brand
Brian Carl, Senior Director of Marketing at Clarus Commerce
Brian is a premium loyalty expert who’s been at the center of developing marketing for numerous premium loyalty programs. As a data driven leader, he’s seen the ROI retailers have gained by offering premium loyalty programs and he understands how valuable they are for not only retailers, but for the modern consumer.
Bill Hanifin, CEO of The Wise Marketer
Bill is CEO Wise Marketer Group LLC, the publisher of TheWiseMarketer.com and operator of the Loyalty Academy. Bill is also CEO Hanifin Loyalty LLC, a strategic marketing agency focused on designing, managing & evaluating customer loyalty and data-driven marketing programs. Bill has been active in the customer loyalty industry for over 20 years and has worked with notable brands throughout North America & Latin American markets as well as in the EU and Asia Pacific regions.
Customer loyalty at brands like Pampers, Ikea and Shell are driven by well-thought out loyalty schemes. What are the loyalty mechanics behind their success? Open Loyalty’s team has recently analyzed the top 100 loyalty programs from all around the world to learn proven strategies that guarantee company growth and a good customer experience.
Let’s dive into seven examples of great loyalty mechanics and learn from their example.
1. Scan and be rewarded with Pampers Rewards
Pampers Rewards is a loyalty program led by Pampers – the
number one diaper brand worldwide. The program is targeted at parents,
especially young mothers. Customers can earn points by scanning in-pack codes
or entering them manually every time they purchase a Pampers product. Points
can be redeemed for coupons and gifts from the Pampers reward catalog.
Baby Essentials: How Pampers Rewards App Works | Pampers - YouTube
With the loyalty mechanics the company is using, Pampers
members gain points for each scanned Pampers product they purchase, no matter
where they bought it. The number of points earned varies depending on the type
of product and the quantity of items inside of the pack. Every new member gains
100 points for registering and 50 points for the first code they scan, and for
joining the program. Customers need to register online through the website or
download a dedicated mobile app (iOS/Android).
Thanks to the scanning mechanics, the producer is in direct
touch with end-customers, can track their shopping behaviours and build an
exceptional customer experience connected with one of the greatest experiences
a human can have – the birth and raising of a child.
2. Without points at Ikea Family
Ikea is the world’s largest furniture retailer with a global
reach of approximately 370 stores in around 47 countries. Ikea Family is a
loyalty program run by Ikea. The program includes Ikea Family Cards,
which are available in plastic and virtual versions via the Ikea mobile app. The
brand is unified globally, nevertheless every country unit uses a slightly
different set of engaging campaigns.
To join the program, customers have to register online
through the Ikea website or mobile app (iOS/Android) or offline in Ikea stores.
The mobile application’s role is also to make the shopping experience better by
helping track a product in-store or by creating wish-lists for a future visit
or presents from relatives, for example.
The offline experience is really important; in some countries there are offline kiosks and crew dedicated to identifying non-members and inviting them to join the program.
Ikea Family is different from other loyalty programs.
Members do not receive points. All privileges for members of the loyalty
program are available immediately after signing up for the program.
The loyalty program is the main marketing medium used by the
Ikea uses email, SMS, print and in-store communication to
activate customers. Example marketing campaigns include: special offers for the
inventory and gift card competitions.
Shell is a British–Dutch multinational oil and gas company.
Today, Shell is one of the six oil and gas “supermajors” with a reach of more
than 70 countries.
With the new loyalty program launched in the UK, Go+, Shell’s customers can earn visits, instead of points. All they need to do is spend £10 or more on fuel, or £2 or more in the shop. Customers will get 10% off every Costa Express or Shell hot drink, discounts on snacks from the deli2go or Jamie Oliver deli by Shell ranges, and 10% off all Helix Motor Oils. Customers will also get money off fuel every 10 visits, 10% off Shell’s highest quality car wash services every time they wash their car, and plenty of treats as well as surprises along the way.
Drivers may become a Loyalty Programme member of Shell by
registering their membership either via an App or the Website. To start
enjoying Shell Go+ rewards, customers need to download the Shell app which is
quick and easy to use. All the driver should do to redeem a reward is to simply
open the app before he gets to the till and scan his digital Shell Go+ card.
Alternatively, the customer can order a card and key fob.
For that, the driver should register first via the Shell app or online, then he
will be able to order a card or key fob to his address. It may take up to 14
days to arrive.
4. Rewarding experiences with Marvel Rewards
Marvel is an American entertainment company that was founded
in 1998. It is a producer of a wide variety of comics, animations and movies.
Marvel Insider is a loyalty program based on points, and in order to register,
users need to fill out a form online on Marvel’s website.
Members can earn points by completing tasks set by the
company including connecting their Facebook accounts, following Marvel on
twitter, reading the news at Marvel.com, watching trailers, listening to
podcasts, checking in at Marvel events and movies or completing surveys. Points
for completed activities will appear on the member’s account within 48 hours. The
program also has four membership Levels: RInsider, Agent, Elite, and True
Marvel’s fans can exchange points for exclusive rewards,
access to exclusive content, exclusive sales and discounts, gifts upon reaching
a given tier, as well as birthday and anniversary gifts.
All the rewards are very well crafted based on fans’
expectations, like one month of Marvel unlimited and digital comics.
Marvel’s fans can also earn 3% and 1% cashback with the
Marvel mastercard. The special extras the cards offer are $25 Statement credit
after your first purchase with a new Marvel Mastercard, 10% off merchandise
purchases at MarvelShop.com every day, free shipping offers on MarvelShop.com
during certain times of the year, and special discounts on Marvel Unlimited or
Marvel digital comics.
Cardholders can also receive 20% off tickets to the Marvel
Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. when paying with the Marvel Mastercard at the box
office, and 10% Off Merchandise purchased at the Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.
5. Smooth mobile loyalty experience with Dunkin’Donuts
Dunkin’Donuts is an American global donut company and
coffeehouse. Dunkin’ Donuts Perks is a loyalty program run by Dunkin and the
program is based on points, which are granted for every purchase made in
Dunkin’. To join DD Perks, users must complete the form online through the
Dunkin’ website or app (iOS/Android), create a Dunkin’ Donuts Card and load it
with an amount of money from $2 to $100.
The Dunkin’ Donuts app has DD Perks with rewards and loyalty
offers, gift cards, On-the-Go Ordering with mobile pay, menus and nutritional
facts, and store locators.
The user experience becomes a very friendly one with the Earn
Rewards Feature. Every client receives a free beverage when he registers to the
app, for every 200 points earned and on his birthday. Also, for every dollar spent,
the user will earn 5 points. Now, with the On-the-Go Ordering feature, users
can place their Dunkin’ coffee order in advance and pick it up later. Dunkin’
On-the-Go lets customers pay for their morning donut and coffee before they’re
out the door.
Another user experience feature – Customize your Dunkin’
favorites – lets users browse the Dunkin’ coffee menu and add a touch of French
Vanilla, Hazelnut, Toasted Almond, Blueberry, Raspberry or Coconut to their
The program is not divided into segments. The brand decided
not to use segments or tiers, but to use the points method within their loyalty
program and enable members to redeem them for special offers and prizes.
As a member, users can also pay with the loyalty
application, action which speeds up the shopping process. To share their
experience, customers can send a virtual Dunkin’ Donuts gift card to any
Dunkin’ lover, via text or email, or be a hero and grab a Box O’ Joe or
munchkins to share with family and friends.
6. Thank-You Rewards in CitiBank
Citibank is the consumer division of the financial services
multinational Citigroup, which is an American multinational investment banking
and financial services corporation. ThankYou rewards lets users earn points in
various ways and collect them in a ThankYou Member Account.
Becoming a member requires having a Citi credit card with
ThankYou Rewards or being a primary signer on a Citibank consumer checking
account which has been enrolled in ThankYou Rewards. Users can earn points for
making purchases with a Citi credit card (1 point = $1 or more for some
categories) or for banking with a Citibank checking account and having
qualifying products/services linked to their checking account (Auto Save,
Savings/Money Market, Mortgage, Home Equity Line/Loan, Personal Installment
Loan and Custom Credit Line).
The mechanics of redeeming a gift card are very simple. The
customer needs to find a brand he loves from the partner’s and brand’s list,
and check the prices that work for him with a TJX gift card! Departments
include apparel, shoes, home, beauty, and accessories. The TJX gift card is
redeemable at over 2700 T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, and Sierra Trading Post
stores (in the U.S. and Puerto Rico) and online at tjmaxx.com and
7. Resellers engagement at Lenovo Leap
Discover LenovoLEAP - YouTube
Lenovo Group Limited is a Chinese IT company founded in
1984. LEAP (Lenovo Expert Achievers Program) is a B2B loyalty program dedicated
to Lenovo Business Partners. The company decided to launch a program that will
increase loyalty in selling Lenovo’s server solutions.
The LEAP program is focused on the Lenovo Data Center Portfolio.
To become a Partner, the user has to fill out the application form on the
Lenovo LEAP website.
LEAP is divided into three segments: LEARN – complete
education modules, increase knowledge about products, EARN – reward points,
PROFIT – get increased revenues and customer loyalty. In order for LEAP Points
to be awarded, the partner must provide the sales invoices of eligible products
on the LEAP website by the published deadlines.
Partners can earn LEAP Points that can later be redeemed for
Rewards by providing proof of their sales of eligible Lenovo products (Sell and
Earn) and by boosting their knowledge about Lenovo through LEAP’s educational
resources, which also cover related products and Lenovo solutions (Learn and
Taking inspiration from various brands and industries while
creating your loyalty strategy might bring you lots of innovative ideas as well
as proven practices. Loyalty programs may have various mechanics but the most
important thing is to focus on your business goals and on improving your
customers’ experience and satisfaction.
Bond received the highest score possible in loyalty strategy services, technology services, innovative culture, and roadmap criteria.
Bond Brand Loyalty today announced it has been recognized as a Leader in The Forrester Wave: Loyalty Service Providers Q3 2019—the highest possible ranking a company can attain. Bond was named a leader based on current offering, strategy, and market presence.
Bond received the highest scores possible in the loyalty strategy services, technology services, innovation culture and roadmap, account management, training services, marketing services, loyalty program management services, vision and execution road map, and account retention criteria.
Leading in Loyalty - The Forrester Wave Process - YouTube
“Given Bond’s significant organizational growth in a changing marketplace, I believe that this recognition is a strong validation of the strength of our innovative offerings, rich expertise, and exceptional people to deliver on the complex needs of our global clients,” says Bob Macdonald, President and CEO at Bond. “We are honored to be named a Leader by Forrester, and take great pride that the report showcases, in our opinion, our capabilities as we continue to drive the industry—and our clients’ businesses—forward.”
The Forrester report states that Bond offers a full range of services to manage, market, and measure experiences for companies across sectors including retail, financial services, travel, hospitality, and automotive.
In the report, Forrester states, “Bond Brand Loyalty delivers loyalty strategy that challenges the status quo. Bond views loyalty as the key to business growth and anticipatory experiences as the key to loyalty.”
In additional to Bond’s commitment to thought leadership through its annual Loyalty Report, Forrester states that Bond invests significant resources “in helping clients expand their thinking around loyalty—through human-centered design principles and techniques, applied data science, and a newly launched XO Lab for innovation.”
Client references interviewed by Forrester called out the company’s proactive thought leadership and strong strategy design, stating, “[Bond is] forward thinking while also understanding what’s practical near term.” Clients also feel that “Bond is genuinely interested in their success…”
The evaluation’s conclusion about Bond is: “Companies looking for an industry-leading strategy should put Bond on their short list.”
“Our strategy, offerings, and execution continue to live up to our long history of innovation and leadership in this space,” says Scott Robinson, VP Design & Strategy at Bond. “Through a combination of our deep operational prowess, financial acumen, use of human-centric design, and proprietary engagement mapping, which identifies the moments that matter most on the customer journey, Bond ensures that our clients stay at the front edge of loyalty.”
The report comes on the heels of a year of continued client growth and global expansion for Bond, as well as an evolved Synapze suite of technology platforms—including the launch of SynapzeCX, a new AI-powered employee engagement platform that elevates the customer experience.
About Bond Brand Loyalty Bond is a global, data-driven customer experience and loyalty management business. It specializes in the Marketing, Measurement, and Management of powerful experiences that build brand loyalty for the world’s most influential brands. Bond creates authentic, profitable, and long-lasting relationships for our clients through a combination of services that includes loyalty solutions, customer experience design, marketing research, customer analytics, live brand experiences, and proprietary technology platforms. Bond has been recognized as a Best Managed Company for the second year in a row. For more information, visit bondbrandloyalty.com, follow Bond on LinkedIn and Twitter, or connect by phone at 1-844-277-2663.
We saw a lot rainbows in June. But what about the rest of the year? While an avalanche of retailers came out to support the LGBTQ community during Pride Month — typically through the sale of color-splashed products — those rainbows tend to fade and with them, seemingly, so does the support.
It is during the rest of the year when the public should measure how well corporations stand behind equal human rights and inclusivity. In few ways is this measure as effective as in the workplace: A recent Glassdoor survey conducted by The Harris Poll reveals that 53% of LGBTQ employees (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) have experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ comments by co-workers.
So instead of lauding the brands that supported Pride in June, how about recognizing those the LGBTQ community supports all the time, through their hard work? Here’s a list of five retail brands that support LBGTQ rights year-round and are embraced by the community, based on Glassdoor rankings.
The Swedish home furnishings merchant Ikea has formally embedded diversity into its values and expects its staff to practice inclusive behaviors in collaborative ways. To this end, offers training on LGBT+ inclusion to enlighten workers of their possible unconscious biases regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, and how to reduce these biases. Among its benefits for LGBT+ workers and families: Ikea’s U.S. medical plan covers a portion of gender confirmation counseling and surgery.
As one employee from Ohio describes Ikea: “I receive great benefits; as well as the equal opportunities to pass those benefits along to my wife to help start and grow our family. I am so proud Ikea honors our #uniqueness and celebrates our individuality globally.”
The $32-billion beverage and snack foods brand operates an LGBTQA Business Resource Group (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and asexual), in operation for almost 15 years, and was among the first companies to support new U.N. standards for LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) rights. It also offers benefits packages that serve as safety nets for LBGTQ employees, as Glassdoor reports:
“In 2011, the company began offering and in 2015 it began assisting with the costs of taxes imposed on eligible U.S. employees whose same-sex spouse or partner was enrolled in health benefits and who lived in states that did not recognize same-sex marriage.”
The fashion brand Gap in 2014 was the first Fortune 500 company to confirm that it pays men and women equally for the same work, and it extends that equality across the spectrum. Gap has organized a group within the company called GEAR — Gay Employees, Allies and Resources — dedicated to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for its LGBTQ employees.
In terms of employee benefits, GAP provides an adoption assistance reimbursement plan (important to same-sex couples) as well as a pet discount program to offset the cost of veterinarian care, per services and supplies. In 2018, employees of its Old Navy brand voted it among the 100 Best Places Workplaces for Diversity: “They walk the talk when it comes to community involvement, equality and equal rights”.
When a company’s CEO is gay, you can expect it opens its arms to all members of the LGBTQ community, and Apple has done so since long before appointing Tim Cook. More than half of Apple’s employees (53%) are from historically underrepresented groups in technology. And for decades, its Diversity Network Associations have presented places for workers to connect with confidence. More than 25,000 Apple employees participate in one of the associations, which include Pride@Apple, Accessibility@Apple, Amigos@Apple, Black@Apple and Women@Apple.
“Being a leader at Apple means you’re held accountable for creating an environment where people feel included and welcomed,” Apple employee Consuela, a mixed-race woman who is part of the LBGQT+ community, states on Apple’s website. “It’s not just a recommendation. It’s expected of you.”
Target distinguishes itself among shoppers for its exclusive, limited-time designer labels, but among workers it is known for inclusion. More than 10,000 of its staff members participate in its six diversity business councils. The groups — LGBTQ+African American, Asian American, military and women — provide onboarding, networking and professional development opportunities.
In 2015, Target published a Pride manifesto to showcase its consistent commitment to creating an inclusive culture. In 2016, Target further supported its commitment by publicly reinforcing its policy on restroom and fitting room use, which states employees and customers are free to use the rooms that correspond with their gender identities.
These efforts matter every day of the year to employees, as well as to shoppers. And they should matter to all retail brands. When seeking Pride support, people are learning that the best measure of authenticity is in seeing a brand’s true colors in July, and afterward.
Bryan Pearson a Featured Contributor to The Wise Marketer and is the President of LoyaltyOne, where he has been leveraging the knowledge of 120 million customer relationships over 20 years to create relevant communications and enhanced shopper experiences.
This article originally appeared in Forbes. Be sure to follow Bryan on Facebook and Twitter for more on retail, loyalty and the customer experience.
Is a $5 Billion fine enough to make Facebook change its ways? Apparently millennials are ruining retail, lots and lots of loyalty program news, Yes – Google Assistant is listening to everything that goes on in your house, and a tip of the hat to this week’s “Loyalty for Good” champion. Here is what we’re following in loyalty news …
“… cashbacks make the most of consumer psychology. “Many of us started using Paytm only because it incentivised us with cashbacks initially for almost every transaction. Now we are used to using it even without cashbacks. This is behavioural economics at play.”
“The study identified four mindsets or approaches to shopping: the bargain hunter, who views shopping as a game they intend to win; the explorer, who sees shopping as precious time out; the ninja, who treats shopping as a race; and the brand devotees, who buy trusted brands rather than being swayed by price.”
“… the report revealed that consumers expect to interact with loyalty programs in the same way they would interact with the brand. Because of that, it’s important for retailers to require teams across their entire organization to work together toward the desired loyalty outcome. While the loyalty tactic or program itself may sit with one team, driving real and lasting loyalty must be everyone’s job to truly connect with consumers.”
“Duchess’s previous loyalty program was a traditional points system that awarded customers points based on purchases, which could then be redeemed for fuel discounts. Due to the margin on fuel often being much lower than on in-store products, the program had an expensive structure, and in May 2018 Duchess worked with Paytronix to relaunch its loyalty program with a focus more on capturing customers’ behavior to increase incremental visit lift and check spend, according to the companies.”
“The department store retailer announced the launch on Monday, describing the program in a statement as “the future of retail loyalty”. The new David Jones Rewards program operates more like a traditional loyalty program, where members receive benefits for signing up to the program and shopping at the department store.”
“Practice,” the company’s loyalty program, is in testing in 3 North American cities, with the company trying different benefits and price points. Offerings include physical goods, event access and digital content, with the cost somewhere above $100 for a year.”
“The revamped programme would increase the number of beneficiaries from the current 4,000 to 600,000 and give them unique services, including exclusive voice and data plans as well as value proposition services from its partners.”
“Velocity is Australia’s second-largest airline loyalty
program, with an estimated 9.5 million members compared to the near 13-million
members of Qantas Frequent Flyer. The program raked in $63.8 million in
pre-tax earnings in the six months to December 31, off a revenue of $208.9
million, and is on track to double its earnings to $120 million when Virgin
declares its 2019 financial year results towards the end of August – although
the airline overall is expected to report a loss.”
“The airline signed a new contract with American Express earlier this year to issue co-branded rewards credit cards — the contract was worth an estimated $7 billion annually by 2023. Loyalty revenues grew just under 20% to $1.2 billion this quarter.”
“… the main reason for retail’s spiral is that “certain companies have failed to make a connection with this demographic’s outlook and preferences, but it means good news for local brands that account for a significant and staggering percentage of store openings.”
“J.P. Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth said Prime Day could result in more than $5 billion in sales for Amazon, a massive 56% increase from of the $3.2 billion he believes the company booked last year. It’s important to note that Amazon doesn’t break out the results of Prime Day, and estimates vary widely about the total sales resulting from the event. In the wake of last year’s Prime Day Sale, Internet Retailer conducted an analysis and concluded that the event generated sales of between $4.01 billion and $4.38 billion globally — a difference of more than $1 billion from Anmuth’s estimate.”
This week in the UK, Amazon’s devoted team of observers will note its continuing dominance over everything from groceries to yoga mats; and, as it ties Morrisons into extending its same day delivery partnership.
The grocery giant is now wholly reliant on Amazon if it is to continue to compete on the delivery front. Morrisons will become a retailer on Amazon’s Prime Now website and app and continues as a wholesaler to Amazon’s other UK grocery customers as per the “Morrisons at Amazon” agreement three years ago.
The message is clear: Trying to beat Amazon at its own game is futile. Brands need to play differently to survive now that it has captured the minds and wallets, if not the hearts, of such a significant chunk of the market.
Chinks in the armour
Shoppers are now heavily dependent on Amazon for many of their daily buys, and this together with the forever-logged-in, quick-and-easy shopping spree Amazon provides is a factor smaller brands just can’t compete with.
So much focus is on Amazon’s dominance that these smaller brands sometimes neglect to see what weaknesses this brings, and how they can exploit the cracks to their gain. For example, popular opinion increasingly questions whether the ubiquitous marketplace really does increase consumer choice.
Privacy and antitrust provisions have also dimmed Amazon’s halo a little, as the public slowly grows to understand how much power (read: data) it really holds.
This means the product recommendations Amazon has become famous for, once a handy bar at the bottom of the page, are viewed with a jaded eye, especially when not completely relevant to the individual. Shoppers understand much more now about how these work, and know Amazon is pulling from previous, unrelated searches, and even data exchanges between third-party providers.
Here we have an opportunity for smaller brands to personalise the process through introducing good friction. Acknowledge the point in the shopping journey where the customer is asked for personal data; be declarative about the value the customer will see in return. Adding good friction at the right moment is a memorable value add and shoppers have long accepted it is happening and simply want to know, “what’s in it for me?”
Offering a uniquely tailored experience to each customer means the monopoly held by Amazon becomes less and less of a comparison point to what they do. Think Etsy, which provides a platform for small-scale artisans and designers.
Opting to go a different route, either in brand identity or the business itself, is the recipe for success here.
Recognition of the individual is reflected right back
The best experiences are achieved when each customer is seen as an individual in the eyes of the brand, rather than a rough segment thrown together by a Marketing department.
When today’s digitally savvy shopper is overloaded with choice and price, and delivery offers are two-a-penny, what sets brands continuously aside today is customer experience.
Hyper-Personalization is the next brave step in experience personalisation, and the only one that truly gives customers with the experience they expect in search, recommendations, email, and offers.
We see this proven in physical stores, which are installing increasingly innovative experiences into their retail spaces. Coffee and blow-dry bars, monogram sewing and alterations, DJs and indoor greenhouse environments, have all made their way onto the high street to give customers more than some racks and a till when they go to browse and buy.
The online shopping experience need be no different, matching the brand identity of in-store. It is much easier for smaller brands to do this. Not least because they likely have physical retail space, which they can align with additional touch points including app and branded website to create opportunities for customers to meet and recognise the brand again.
When customers have the same familiar brand experience across these touchpoints, both brand and customer recognise each other.
Achieving brand loyalty through personalisation is not the same as what Amazon is doing. Smaller retailers have distinct advantages in being much more targeted about how they communicate with customers, and when.
Customer experience is much more than simply buying, and hyper-personalization is critical in bringing together customer intent, motivation, recognition and value, to recognise the customer as much more than a segment.
It’s true that Amazon is way past needing hyper-personalization to attract and retain customers, but for smaller, specialist brands, the audience is different and so is the business. Customers demand to be seen, recognized, and inspired.
ST. PAUL, Minn., Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Augeo announced today that it has completed the sale of its financial institution loyalty business unit to investment funds affiliated with Lightyear Capital LLC, a New York-based private equity firm investing in financial services companies.
A longstanding leader in customer, member and employee engagement solutions, Augeo has delivered double-digit growth each year for over a decade and continues to serve more than 300 clients outside of financial institution loyalty.
“The sale of this business unit, which represents approximately one-third of our overall business, marks a first for Augeo, as we have been hyper-focused on growth and strategic acquisitions for many years,” commented David Kristal, Augeo CEO. “In 2012, we acquired the first of two companies in the financial institution loyalty sector. Since then, we have invested heavily in technology and operations, more than tripling the acquired revenue, and establishing a leadership position in the space.”
“With Augeo, the financial institution loyalty division has experienced consistent growth (year over year) in the rapidly advancing market of card-based loyalty/rewards and we are excited to further expand our services and proud to continue representing so many great banks, credit unions and partners as a standalone company in Lightyear’s portfolio,” commented Mike Knoop. Knoop, who has led the FI business since 2015, will become the CEO of Augeo FI as part of this transition. “Lightyear’s investment reinforces our continued advancement as a leader in the market. With this additional capital, we’ll be able to expand our capabilities, such as our pay-with-points offerings, and continue to invest in technology to deliver ever-more sophisticated and customized reporting back to our clients, giving them highly actionable insights they can use to better understand and serve their customers.”
Mark F. Vassallo, Managing Partner of Lightyear, commented, “With a proven ability to improve account growth and activity, Augeo FI has achieved a leading position helping middle-market banks and credit unions meet their individual clients’ needs. We are excited about the expansion opportunities for Augeo FI, especially as credit and debit card transaction volume and rewards card usage continue to rise. The business already has significant momentum, and we look forward to working with the Augeo FI management team to invest in and grow their business.”
Kristal added, “At Augeo, we have persistently challenged our product design and thinking, resulting in frequent product innovations in the many sectors we continue to serve, including customer loyalty, employee recognition and membership platforms. We are rapidly expanding our card-linked marketing business and growing this leading fintech platform, with more than 30 million cardholders currently using our solution. Moving forward, we will continue developing technology to advance with our clients, build elevated reward interfaces, strengthen social connections, and design optimized user experiences.”
The transaction closed September 25, 2018. Raymond James served as the investment bank for the transaction. Augeo was advised on the transaction by Lurie, LLP and Winthrop & Weinstine, P.A. Lightyear was advised by KPMG LLP and Davis Polk.
About Augeo Augeo is a North American leader in engagement, loyalty and incentive platforms with a focus on developing new solutions and innovative technology for clients, partners, merchants and consumers. Augeo operates business units in consumer and customer loyalty, employee recognition, membership benefit solutions and digital agency services. Augeo serves both domestic and international programs and currently supports over 55 countries in 8 languages. Headquartered in St. Paul, MN, Augeo also has offices in the metropolitan areas of Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlantaand Phoenix. For more information, visit www.augeomarketing.com.
About Augeo FI Augeo FI is a market-leading, outsourced provider of customized loyalty program solutions for middle-market banks and credit unions. With over 20 years of managing loyalty programs in the financial services space and an experienced management team, Augeo FI operates an industry leading platform, supporting 1,200 loyalty programs for many banks and credit unions in the United States. The company is headquartered in Naperville, IL and operates within a PCI compliant environment, influencing spend for over 24 million cardholders. For more information, on Augeo FI, please visit www.augeofi.com.
About Lightyear Capital LLC Founded in 2000, Lightyear Capital is a financial services-focused private equity firm based in New York. Through its affiliated private equity funds, Lightyear makes primarily control investments in North America-based, middle-market companies across the financial services spectrum, including asset and wealth management, banking, brokerage, healthcare financial services, insurance, payments and processing and specialty finance. The firm brings focus and discipline to its investment process, as well as operating, transaction and strategic management experience, along with significant contacts and resources beyond capital. For more information, please visit www.lycap.com.
Augeo Contact Information for Media: Michael Walsh 612.718.8952 email@example.com
Augeo FI Contact Information for Media: Megan Zuber 331.442.9641 firstname.lastname@example.org
Lightyear Contact Information for Media: Elliot Sloane 212-850-5722 email@example.com
Growing loyalty and engagement division to become industry game-changer through data-driven programs and services
ATLANTA, July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — InComm, a leading payments technology company, today announced the acquisition of Meridian Loyalty, a full-service incentives business that creates loyalty and engagement programs for large corporations. Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Meridian Loyalty clients include Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies from across the globe.
InComm logo. (PRNewsFoto/InComm)
With this acquisition, InComm will strengthen its incentives business by creating lasting loyalty for corporations through flexible reward offerings and member-centric design and management tools for B2C, B2B and employee programs. The move expands InComm’s capabilities from the specialized delivery of stored-value rewards to a comprehensive suite of end-to-end services for brand-focused incentive, loyalty and engagement programs, including travel and merchandise redemptions.
“Incentives and rewards have become essential tools for brands to engage their audiences, so we are working towards helping our customers maximize the performance of their programs,” said Brooks Smith, CEO of InComm. “The Meridian Loyalty team brings decades of experience and technological expertise in creating effective incentive, loyalty and engagement programs, and we could not be more excited to welcome them to the InComm family.”
“Meridian disrupted the incentives industry in the 80s and 90s with the introduction of the MeridiCard, the industry’s first reloadable debit card, so our point of view has been rewards-agnostic from day one,” said Sam Toumayan, President and Owner of Meridian Loyalty. “We’re incredibly excited to be joining the InComm team and finding innovative ways to drive positive client outcomes.”
The Incentive Research Foundation reported in its 2019 Trends Study that fewer than 30 percent of corporate buyers track return on investment (ROI) for incentive travel programs, while 53 percent of corporate buyers for merchandise and gift card programs do not use reporting or analysis to evaluate the performance of their programs. InComm will ensure brands can overcome these challenges through consultation services grounded in data-driven, predictive analysis and tools. This approach will provide actionable insights that will maximize participation rates and ROI for customer incentive, loyalty and engagement programs.
By building more value into every transaction through innovative payment technologies, InComm creates seamless and valuable commerce experiences. InComm’s unique products and services – which range from gift card malls to enhanced payment platforms – connect companies across a wide range of industries including retail, healthcare, tolling & transit, incentives and financial services to an ever-expanding consumer base. With more than 25 years of experience, over 500,000 points of distribution, 369 global patents and a presence in more than 30 countries, InComm leads the payments industry from its headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. Learn more at www.InComm.com.