Nearly two-thirds of consumers say their loyalty is more difficult for retailers to maintain than ever before. Retailers realize this and know consumers have infinite options. The urgency to differentiate your loyalty program has hit an all-time high.
A great loyalty program will help you collect valuable first-party data on your best customers, reward them for engaging, and ultimately put your brand top of mind in a sea of competitors.
And the right loyalty solutions partner will act as partner in your journey to accomplish all those things.
Here are five key things to look for in a potential loyalty solutions provider.
1. Do They Have an End-to-End Loyalty Solutions Approach?
Your ideal loyalty solutions provider will take the time to discover everything about your brand, including what benefits your customers will see the most value in.
A loyalty solutions provider is an extension of your brand and taking a holistic approach is one of the keys to success.
From marketing to design to IT to customer service, a loyalty program covers so many areas within your brand. Because of this, it all needs to work together seamlessly to give your customers the best experience possible.
Your loyalty management partner should offer a range of expertise that includes program design, implementation planning, product development, creative services, and ongoing program performance evaluation.
This comprehensive holistic approach allows your loyalty partner to build, manage, and optimize your customized loyalty program. A good loyalty partner should work side-by-side with your brand every step of the way, always offering ways to optimize and improve your program.
2. Are They Driven by Data?
Today’s customers have little patience and expect brands to know them and communicate with them in a relevant, engaging fashion. Brands realize that consumers have an abundance of choices.
Brands need to do as much as they can to truly understand their customers’ expectations and desires. Luckily, consumers are willing to disclose personal data in exchange for personalized communications and value-laden offers.
And the best way for your loyalty solutions provider to learn more about your brand and your customers is through data.
Mining your data also helps the provider optimize your loyalty program whenever necessary.
A loyalty solutions provider can glean powerful and useful insights from customer data to enhance your loyalty program on a regular basis.
Collecting valuable data is the first important step. But the second step is leveraging that data to personalize offers, increase sales, and elevate the customer experience.
3. Is It a Forward-thinking Loyalty Company?
So, that does this mean?
What’s worked in the past can be helpful to guide your loyalty future. But you want a loyalty solutions provider that is educated about cutting-edge technology, research, and other learnings that will prepare your program for anything down the road.
This forward-thinking mentality is a key quality. Instead of only bouncing thoughts and ideas off your provider, you want them to come to you with ideas about how to improve your loyalty program or industry issues that could impact you in the future.
Acquiring and, more importantly, retaining customers is so important today given consumers’ numerous choices. Your loyalty solutions provider should be forward-thinking through innovation and being proactive.
4. Is Your Loyalty Solutions Provider Experienced?
This might seem like a moot point, or something you can Google about a loyalty solutions provider. The reality, however, is total years a company has existed doesn’t equate to necessarily more experience.
When, in fact, it might not have anything to do with years of professional existence at all.
Experienced, when it comes to a loyalty solutions provider, revolves around its understanding of consumer preferences and how loyalty has changed over the past few decades, and how the pandemic impacted customer loyalty maybe forever.
Building an appealing and successful loyalty program doesn’t happen overnight.
Your loyalty solutions provider should have a working history of loyalty programs, why they’ve worked and failed, and how the rise in premium loyalty programs (Amazon Prime, Walmart+, Lululemon, CVS CarePass, etc.) could be the wave of the future.
It’s easier for your provider to offer a big picture view if it’s seen the past performances of various types of loyalty programs.
5. Do They Have Experience in Your Industry?
Your ideal loyalty solutions provider will have experience building programs in your industry and will take the time to discover everything about your business, including what benefits your customers want and see the most value in.
Look for a loyalty solutions provider with expertise in the loyalty space through customer acquisition, program design, data analytics, and making decisions derived strictly from a customer-centric approach, while also building technology capabilities.
Your provider should build things that always have your customers in mind. And not for any other reason. If your provider does this well, your brand and customers will benefit greatly in the long run.
If your brand is truly customer-focused, your loyalty solutions vendor must be as well.
Customer-focused is a strategy that places your customers at the heart of, and ahead of, all other business decisions. This strategy is sustainable and cultivates brand trust.
Questions to Consider Before Choosing a Loyalty Solutions Provider
If you’ve found a loyalty vendor that checks all the boxes, there are still some final questions you must ask before partnering.
- What kind of loyalty program do you want to offer your customers? Will it be a free, points-based program? Or a premium loyalty program that members pay for? Or a combined program with a free and a premium tier?
- What are your customers’ biggest pain points? How can this new program solve those pain points?
- Can your loyalty management partner build everything for you turnkey? And can they manage it from launch and beyond?
Your loyalty solutions provider needs to understand and assist you in setting your loyalty goals. Alignment is vital every step of the way.
Once they understand your specific goals, talk about them, and make sure what’s required from both sides. They need to listen to your brand’s needs and those of your customers.
Find a loyalty solutions provider that takes a holistic, data-driven approach, is forward-thinking, understands your goals and works toward achieving them, is trusted and reliable, and is aligned with your brand every step of the way.