Customer engagement has never been more central to the retail industry than in 2021. As the market becomes increasingly crowded and consumers become more tech-savvy, their expectations have risen, meaning that retailers need to do more than ever to capture their attention. And once the first purchase has been made, the real challenge of customer retention begins.
Recent studies have revealed that 79 per cent of Australian businesses are focusing on nurturing existing markets to fuel business growth. This commitment to existing customer relationships proves the necessity of driving repeat business in a retail landscape that offers endless choices. To strengthen their position in the market, retailers can further increase customer retention through loyalty programs that remove friction and inconvenience for shoppers.
The value of an engaged customer cannot be overlooked. Customers committed to a business are more likely to continue purchasing from that business and support organisational pivots or new ideas. Their loyalty is earned by putting their experience at the heart of everything the retailer does.
One fundamental way retailers can improve customer retention is through a loyalty and rewards program. The more benefits these programs provide, the more likely a consumer will be to stay loyal to an organisation.
There are several ways that investing in a seamless loyalty program can improve customer retention.
Immediate and long-term benefits
Having visible benefits to a loyalty program is key to garnering high levels of consumer interaction. These benefits must be obtainable and desirable by the customer and provide real value to their experience. When employing a card-linked, frictionless loyalty platform, consumers can benefit immediately from the convenience, saving them from carrying one more card in their wallet or from having to enter loyalty details at the point of sale. These benefits compound as additional promotions and deals are offered through the corresponding online portal, keeping the consumer engaged with the business for an extended period.
Digitised rewards programs also let retailers curate the purchase process for individual customers, providing the hyper-personalised consumer experience that is so highly sought after in the current market. From specific offers that correlate to peak shopping times to records of previous transactions for future reference, card-linked rewards programs let the consumer be seen as the number one priority and keep them coming back for more.
Data collected informs future promotions
Data is a precious resource that informs organisational growth and potential profits. For example, when retailers can access consumer data, the insights let them create future promotions and sales that will resonate directly with current customers. This inside knowledge is critical in avoiding investing resources in projects that will not pique the interest of the existing customer base, which would result in a loss.
Appeals to both passive and active customers with frictionless system
The added bonus of a frictionless system means that retailers can include both active and passive shoppers in their growth projections. Card-linked loyalty and rewards programs simply require customers to pay for their purchases using their linked card. This removes physical barriers from the checkout process, such as producing a loyalty card, scanning a code, or entering the customer's details. This means customers can take advantage of additional offers they might not pursue otherwise.
Joining an already established or investing in a card-linked and frictionless system will keep more customers engaged for longer periods of time, letting retailers flourish and tailor future growth plans with greater certainty of success.
As customer experience is such a key battleground for retailers, everything a retailer can do to make that experience seamless, easy, and even enjoyable can gain an extra bit of competitive advantage. Card-linked loyalty programs can improve the customer experience and help retailers secure repeat business that is so valuable.