Hands up, how many of you have stood in a shop on your mobile to see if the item you’d gone in to buy was cheaper on Amazon?
The fact is, most of us probably have. Shopping habits have changed and brand loyalty is an even tougher cookie to crack. But according to Forbes, 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from 20% of its current customer base, so investing the ‘right’ loyalty programme is not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.
But we’ve come a long way since ‘box top’ loyalty schemes. And the modern consumer isn’t going to spend the next 3 months collecting enough tokens to send away for the free battery-operated torch you’re offering them.
Reward schemes are everywhere, and customers want to be rewarded for their loyalty immediately, not sometime in the future…as useful as I’m sure that torch is.
It’s no surprise then, that in this on-demand economy that people should expect the same from their loyalty programmes. And brands are realising that if they want to strengthen loyalty they need to offer instant gratification to their customers. In this scenario, brands reward consumers every time they complete a specific action– traditionally a purchase, but it could also be as simple as filling out a form or answering a survey.
Engage with your ‘low-loyals’
For some customers, if the point-threshold is too high they wont bother participating in your loyalty programme. If they feel they won’t be impacted by any points-related offers you push them then rewarding them instantly from an action of your choice can be the first step in starting a long-term relationship with them.
If a reward comes in at the right time, the customer values the interaction much more and instant rewards can trigger a memorable relationship. But this doesn’t always need to be a monetary reward, consumers can also be excited by technological gratification. ( A good example being Dulux’s Visualise Now function that allows users to virtually ‘paint’ a room in their house)
In fact, we’re so addicted to technological gratification that we’ve started creating abnormal behaviour patterns- something called Phantom Vibration Syndrome; a phenomenon that apparently affects 90% of us- where we mistakenly think our phone is vibrating in our pocket. Just think about that for a second. We’ve collectively we’ve become so addicted to gratification from our devices that we’ve created a minor mental health issue. But it’s hardly surprising because instant gratification is expected in so many contexts. We gain instant feedback from our devices, because we’re constantly plugged in and switched on. Social media gives us instant ability to upload videos, photos and status updates. We receive instant feedback from our social followers. We respond in near real time to emails and tweets. And we have the ability to make things happen without having to wait.
‘Fun’ as a loyalty driver.
According to statistics, ‘fun’ is considered an important loyalty driver with 60% of Millennials. When a loyalty programme crosses over into the content that consumers tune into every day, it becomes part of their world. So, it is perhaps unsurprising that more and more brands are employing gamification techniques in their loyalty programmes. When it comes to successful instant gratification a competitive element in gamification is essential and social integration is a must.
Today’s digital experiences are based on fast-paced interactions. Consumers are impatient, they want on-the-spot feedback and they want to feel that their effort hasn’t gone unnoticed. This means going beyond rewarding them for spending money and acknowledging them for social actions such as ‘Liking’ on Facebook, watching a video or reading a blog post. Consumers, want to feel like the companies they are loyal to know who they are, give them ways to feel connected and valued and keep up with their fast-paced lives.
We are moving towards a reality in which everything happens in real time. Buy it now. Send it now. Get it now. The point of engagement and the point of transaction are converging, and the future belongs to brands that can offer personalisation, immediacy and accessibility.
-Anna Melton, Marketing Manager