In a hurry.
Short attention spans.
All these terms describe a large majority of consumers today.
As Veruca Salt shouts in the 1971 classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “I want it now!”
What can retailers do to gain loyalty from so many anxious and eager consumers who all want it now?
Loyalty Programs Should Be Designed Around Instant Gratification
Retailers beware: Nearly 70% of consumers agree that their loyalty is more difficult for a retailer to maintain than ever before.
Retailers need to understand that consumers have little or no patience and they want things when they want them.
And they usually want things yesterday.
Tailoring your loyalty programs and benefits around instant gratification can lead to better customer acquisition and retention rates.
In the Age of the Customer, 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.
When brands understand their customers, they can offer compelling benefits in a loyalty program that create instant gratification.
Earning and retaining customer loyalty is crucial to and brand’s success.
Consider the impact of customer retention: A third of overall money spent online comes from returning customers and they spend nearly three times more than one-time shoppers.
Today where consumers reign supreme, brands must design their loyalty program benefits around delivering instant gratification.
Or brands risk losing customers.
Instant Gratification Leads to Emotional Loyalty
Brands seek emotional loyalty from their best customers. This type of loyalty is the Holy Grail of customer connections.
While emotional loyalty can be an elusive goal for brands at times, when it is attained, it reaps significant benefits.
Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman said that 95% of purchasing decisions are driven by emotion.
Customers with an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71%, rather than the average rate of 45%.
Sheryl Clark, CEO of women’s apparel retailer Boston Proper, believes building emotional connections with customers is the key to loyalty.
“We are an emotional brand—we love our customers, we live this life, and we are an emotional brand,” Clark told Clarus Commerce.
Creating loyalty moments is critical at Boston Proper.
“Our brand positioning is to inspire women to discover their inner style and embrace their unique confidence and you’re not confident without having an emotional connection to the brand and the style that you are wearing,” Clark added.
Instant gratification fuels emotional loyalty, which can be easily seen in premium loyalty programs, including Prime, Lululemon, and Restoration Hardware.
Sixty-seven percent of consumers said instant discounts that can be used whenever you shop would motivate them to invest in premium loyalty programs.
The instant gratification element is what brands can use to spark emotional loyalty among their customers.
Don’t Make Them Wait
No one likes waiting in lines for anything.
And your loyalty program should follow a similar path.
To earn customer loyalty, brands need to show their loyalty to consumers.
In this instant culture all around us, don’t make them wait for discounts, coupons, promotions, and points. The more you make them wait, the quicker they’ll find somewhere else to shop.
Unlike traditional, free programs that involve several purchases for a future reward, if your loyalty program includes an instant gratification component you will engage consumers immediately and create emotional connections.
Brands must give their customers a compelling reason to engage with them or they’ll be gone before you know it.
Listen to your customers, identify their pain points, and design exclusive benefits that satisfy the instant gratification needs of everyone.
Give Your Customers What They Want – Now!
If your brand wants to differentiate itself, your loyalty program must be all about instant gratification.
If consumers hold all the cards, and they hate waiting for anything, and you’re waging retail war with a slew of competitors, the only solution is to give when what they want immediately.
Include surprise and delight offerings in your loyalty program.
The beauty of premium loyalty is that these programs allow members to enjoy immediate benefits on a 24/7 basis. Members of Prime don’t have to wait to get free shipping. They can engage with the program right away.
Relationships never work if they’re one-sided.
There must be a two-way commitment.
This is true for retail loyalty programs today.
If instant gratification is the expectation now, why should loyalty programs be any different?
Consider that loyalty programs with an instant gratification element create emotional loyalty.
And 82% of consumers with high emotional engagement would always buy the brand they are loyal to when making purchase decisions vs. 38% of consumers with low emotional engagement.
What are you doing to mix in the instant gratification ingredient into your loyalty program?