From the continued growth of ecommerce to the rise of experiential retail, 2018 saw a number of changes within the retail industry. And as retail trends continue to evolve in 2019, so do customer loyalty trends and programs.
As retailers big and small reimagine their loyalty programs to meet evolving customer expectations, the experts weigh in on the loyalty trends they believe will be hot in 2019, as reported in Oracle’s 2019 Loyalty Predictions Report. We’ve complied a preview of the report below, and to check out all 7 loyalty predictions for 2019, view the full report.
Customer loyalty trend #1: Loyalty programs will reward for customer advocacy
Loyalty has traditionally been focused on rewarding customers for buying. However, a recent trend in loyalty schemes is the addition of customer advocacy as a reward action – meaning that brands are starting to reward actions, such as referring friends, sharing posts, and creating content – in the same way that traditional loyalty programs reward the purchase of products.
There are two major reasons why customer advocacy will be included within loyalty programs in 2019. First, consumers have a much greater ability to influence other consumers than ever before. Not only do they have access to wide networks, like their personal social networks and influential review platforms, but they also have the ability to interact constantly with these channels through the proliferation of mobile devices.
Second, technology has reached a stage where it can track these “advocacy actions” accurately, allowing users to be rewarded in the same way purchasing is rewarded. The combination of these two factors creates an environment where loyalty programs can and should include customer advocacy.
— Paul Archer, Founder and Managing Director, Duel
Customer loyalty trend #2: Loyalty will be set free from traditional programs
In the coming year, I predict the unification of CX, digital transformation, and customer loyalty into one single strategy. The fundamental goal of these activities is, after all, customer retention because customer retention = profits. Even when creating customer acquisition strategies, the end goal is customer retention. Therefore, any customer experience strategy or activity needs loyalty at its heart.
2019 is the year that brands begin thinking about customer loyalty in every interaction. Not simply asking them to sign up for a loyalty program but doing what is possible to ensure both short and long-term customer retention at any given moment.
To achieve this will require a big effort on the part of the business as it will mean a big change management project. Direction will need to come from the C-suite because putting loyalty at the core of every interaction of any strategy may be counterintuitive to existing policies or processes.
— Christine Bardwell, Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle Loyalty Cloud
Customer loyalty trend #3: The new channel for loyalty is … Wi-fi
For years we have seen retailers spend loads of money on dedicated apps, only to discover that customers don’t want to have all these brands crowding their smartphones. People would prefer to save that precious memory space for games and family pictures. Retailers’ apps never make the “top downloads” list, and even when customers do download them, they hardly ever use them. Loyalty, therefore, has to find a platform other than apps.
This is where wi-fi comes in. Wi-fi is a seamless way to integrate loyalty schemes into the customer’s journey and the in-store experience by sending targeted content based on profile data (must log in through a social media profile to access store wi-fi) and personalized invitations to join the loyalty program. Instead of forcing customers to download apps they don’t need, in-store wi-fi as a tool to promote loyalty programs is smart and consistent with customers’ needs.
Customers want brands to engage them at the right time, and what better time than when they are in the store, actually shopping? In 2019, there is huge potential for wi-fi-based loyalty engagement in stores.
— Arthur Philbé, Founder, Weblib
To see all 7 loyalty predictions for 2019, view the full report.