For most major retail businesses, the relationship between the customer and the brand is largely transactional in nature, but that mentality needs to change. In order to win over today’s modern consumer, retailers need to build their interactions with customers around a human-to-human relationship mentality.
As originally published on www.nasdaq.com.
Think of every relationship you’ve ever had in your life. Whether that be with a spouse, or a family member or a friend, there was always an intangible force holding that relationship together. Some of that consisted of mutual admiration or trust, but everyone that has ever stayed for a long time in your life stayed for a major reason—and that reason is balance.
Not the balance that comes with being a healthy eater, or a gymnast, but the balance that comes with having a healthy give-and-take. While one person may need help or need something from someone, there is always a quiet understanding that help received is reciprocated and available when needed. For example, if you have a friend that’s always asking you to spot them some money every time you go out to eat, and they reciprocate by buying you a pack of gum one day, would you feel resentment? Of course! Because we’re human.
Yet retailers, who offer free and standard loyalty programs that throw you $5 every time you spend $200 with them, expect you to act the opposite of the way you would act in a regular relationship. But human beings don’t work that way, and resentment brews. That’s why retailers need to think the same way, with an emphasis on building loyalty and loyalty programs with the human relationship in mind.
One such way, which breeds instant balance, is investing in a premium loyalty experience. With a customer contributing a small investment upfront, retailers can invest in technology, infrastructure and the continued giving of gifts, benefits, and appreciation back to the customer.
Imagine an experience like the extremely popular Amazon Prime, AMC Stubs or GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards, where customers pay a small price up front but are constantly rewarded and revered. That is the experience that all retailers need to create.
Because, let’s face it, in an environment when stores are closing, and customers aren’t staying loyal, the differentiation in customer experience will be crucial.
And in an era where every function in a customer’s life is becoming more digital and more removed from human interaction, that relational aspect of retail will become rarer. But, don’t mistake that lack of human touch to mean that people no longer want that.
All people want to be treated with respect, lauded and rewarded for their commitment. Whether that comes from a friend or a favorite retailer, it’s important that balance and trust are at the forefront. But that can’t be done without a commitment from both sides, which is why premium loyalty is the future of retail.
So, whether they are a customer that spends a lot, an average amount, or a little, it’ll be important to treat every retail relationship like a human-to-human relationship. That way, resentment doesn’t brew, both sides are happy, and the relationship between brand and customer is mutually beneficial. The best way to successfully do that? A premium loyalty program experience.