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MONTREAL -- Amid weak U.S. August retail sales, some retailers are increasing their investment in traditional transaction-based loyalty efforts. The most effective loyalty programs consider each interaction a customer has with the brand, extending beyond a single purchase or discrete program, according to Aimia’s recently released report, Inflection Points: Seizing the Moments in Customer Loyalty.
Working with some of the world’s leading brands in more than 20 countries, Aimia believes that some retailers and brands are missing the opportunity to use the insights from pre-and-post purchase interactions to build customer loyalty.
"[We] discovered that the retailers and brands with the most successful loyalty efforts are those who engage and capture their customers' preferences before, during, and after the transaction," said Michael Zea, president and CEO of Aimia's U.S. operations. "The big opportunity is for brands to build loyalty when consumers search online, check in in-store, share their purchases on social media, and even when they upload post-purchase usage data via an interactive app."
Drawing on its global knowledge and portfolio of partners, Aimia found that despite variances in verticals and geographies, the most successful loyalty marketers do three things in common:
- Link customer data to search to predict and provide both customers and potential customers with relevant, timely and personalized offers.
- Capture customer data and information throughout the purchase process -- from the initial browsing to purchase and post-transaction.
- Recognize and reward customers who provide their data and preferences through the entire purchase cycle.
"Aimia's data shows that the best loyalty programs can increase a brand's market share by 20 percent and improve customer acquisition by up to 10 percent," said Stephanie Swain, vice president, retail for Aimia. "In Inflection Points, we provide marketers with a clear overview of the best practices that will transform their customers' experiences and build loyalty."
Aimia's 10 key inflection points are:
- Before They Walk in the Door -- Learn as much as you can about your customers and their interactions with your brand before they even make a purchase decision.
- At the First Sign of Trouble -- Things can go wrong in a new relationship, but leveraging data can help retailers employ tactics to save the relationship.
- During a Life Change -- Use what you know about your customers' lives to tailor rewards programs to personal milestones.
- When They Join Your Loyalty Program --The moment a customer decides to join a program, the experience must be executed flawlessly.
- At the First Sign of Life -- Act on insight from early loyalty program interactions.
- During Program Redemptions -- Deliver a flawless redemption process to keep customers coming back for more.
- During Make-Good Opportunities -- Failures are inevitable, so your response to a negative experience is critical to keeping the customer loyal.
- When You Exceed Expectations -- Customers often anticipate the bare minimum in service and appreciate even modest efforts to exceed expectations.
- When You Anticipate Their Needs -- Connect the dots through data and analytics to identify future needs.
- When They Sing Your Praises -- Reward and recognize best customers and turn them into vocal advocates.