Loyalty moments occur when we have interactions with a brand that create a lasting impact and shape our future interactions.
Companies that focus on creating more loyalty moments with their customers will reap the benefits and greatly enhance their lifetime value.
Here are some of the ways that successful brands are creating loyalty moments by focusing on customer experience.
A Connected In-store Experience
Given the rise of e-commerce, continuity commerce, and fast delivery, some people wonder about the future of retail.
But as we’ve discussed in previous posts, in-store retail is alive and well. In today’s digital world, we should not underestimate the impact of the human element.
A super in-store experience with a sales associate can serve as a key point of differentiation that creates a loyalty moment. Some big brands are doubling down on in-store experiences and doing so in unique ways.
Kroger: Kroger recently announced a new partnership with Microsoft that is focused squarely on improving the in-store customer experience.
It uses the technology company’s popular cloud-based platform Microsoft Azure.
Kroger officials plan to create a connected in-store experience in two pilot stores: Monroe, OH; and Redmond, WA, which are near each of the companies’ headquarters.
The new digital stores will use the data processed and stored by Microsoft Azure, in combination with the Kroger app and smart shelves, to create a never-before-seen shopping experience for customers.
Microsoft’s artificial intelligence software can predict a shopper’s age and gender, data that will help the likes of Procter & Gamble, Pepsi, and Kraft Heinz tailor ads to customer segments.
Kroger also plans to target products and ads to shoppers’ specific product preferences, such as gluten-free or vegetarian.
Loblaw Companies (Click and Collect): Loblaw Companies, Canada’s food and pharmacy leader, recently announced plans to launch a premium loyalty program called PC Insiders.
Styled after Prime, the PC Insiders program includes free “click and collect” grocery shopping, where customers order online and pickup at one of 600 designated locations, as well as free shipping on purchases from Loblaw’s Joe Fresh apparel brand and Shoppers Drug Mart.
Some other brands that use Click and Collect include Home Depot and Walmart.
Nike: This incredibly popular brand has connected its online experience with its in-store experience. In some of its stores, the sportswear retailer has large touch screens so customers can browse Nike.com and order products on the spot.
Make It Speedy
Timing is critical when it comes to creating loyalty moments.
Or, perhaps, the opposite is true. Disloyalty moments occur when things happen slower than consumers expect.
Companies can preclude losing customers by helping them avoid waiting for a page to load, waiting in line to check out, waiting for support to solve an issue, or waiting for a product to be delivered.
They can create loyalty moments by exceeding expectations in this area.
Speed is the defining metric for customer experience. Speed will make customers satisfied, engaged, and loyal.
Just remember to follow the Golden Rule of customer experience: “Treat customers how you would like to be treated.”
Make it Personal
Consumers want to be recognized and they expect brands to know them and their preferences.
They understand that the technology is available, and they are asked to agree to data collection, and cookie tracking. In exchange, they expect personalized, highly tailored experiences.
Here are a couple of examples:
Kohl’s: If you forget your Kohl’s Cash coupons at home, no worries! Kohl’s sends coupons to you digitally so you can apply them via your phone at checkout.
Banana Republic: A surprise and delight discount can occur at checkout since the gift card/promo credits are stored in the system.
To illustrate the impact that personalization has on customer loyalty, consider the following statistic:
Personalization leads to loyalty: This is the “Holy Grail” of personalization. Forty-four percent of consumers say they will likely repeat after a personalized shopping experience.
Make it Premium
The culmination of the trends we discussed leads to a premium tier loyalty program.
Research shows that loyalty program members who pay or purchase to belong are incentivized to follow brand messaging, utilize member benefits, and share personal information beyond the contact basics.
Along with the more obvious perks and benefits, fee-based programs have been demonstrated to create a sense of exclusivity not found with the free variety.
Paid membership means you’ve secured a place in the customer’s heart.
Membership, even for a small fee, forms a sense of exclusivity and transforms the customer experience in a way that traditional loyalty program simply cannot.
Some great examples of premium loyalty include: Prime, Bed Bath & Beyond, Restoration Hardware, GameStop, and Sephora.
Customers want instant rewards, they want them fast, and they want to feel special and personalized. Asking customers to buy into a membership tier provides the opportunity to self-select into exclusivity.
They are willing to pay for VIP experiences with a brand that are available 24/7/365. The nature of paying a fee for these benefits inspires the very things that increase LTV: Purchase frequency, AOV, and brand advocacy.
For many consumers, being a member of a premium loyalty program becomes part of their daily lives.
A Great Experience at Every Moment
Delivering memorable customer experiences will create loyalty moments that impact lifetime value.
Making the in-store customer experience a priority creates a point of differentiation and, along with it, loyalty moments.
When we talk about a seamless customer experience, speed is an integral piece of the loyalty puzzle. Given the abundance of choices for consumers, speed is vital in attracting and retaining customers.
Personalizing these experiences elevates customer engagement to the highest level.
If you can achieve these things and implement a premium loyalty program, you will engage your customers on new levels and create lasting two-way relationships.