02/16/2017

Enhance Your Loyalty Program to Increase Customer Engagement

by Erin Boyd

Capturing customer loyalty is not an option. It’s essential to the survival of brands. That message was conveyed loud and clear when I recently listened to “The State of Loyalty in 2017” webinar, presented by Snipp and Loyalty360. The webinar highlighted key trends, including the evolution of customer loyalty programs, lifestyle loyalty, machine learning, and B2B programs.

While there’s no shortage of loyalty programs, most seem to focus on rewards or coupons for customers who frequently make purchases. Don’t get me wrong, good deals and getting rewards are lovely. However, the webinar highlighted exactly what consumers long for in a brand loyalty program – deals AND engagement.

One company on the right track is New Balance. Its customer loyalty program, MyNB, provides a nice example of two of the trends mentioned in the webinar: evolving technology to enhance brand loyalty programs and an increase in lifestyle loyalty.

Evolve technology to take loyalty to the next level
Webinar presenter Christian Hausammann, global director of loyalty, Snipp, states, “Evolved technologies are creating enormous opportunities for brands to engage consumers with their loyalty platforms in unique ways, specially tailored to modern preferences.”

New Balance is taking advantage of that opportunity with MyNB, a mobile and digital loyalty program that allows users to earn points and rewards through an app and online. The app is easy to use and provides a quick snapshot of rewards. Points are attained not only from purchases but from interactions with social media, referrals, checking in at events, and more. The app and website allow the customer to easily redeem points and shop, while providing featured content.

While a points-based system isn’t anything new, the program goes beyond a basic points offering to personalize content and encourage engagement. Members receive personalized emails with special offers and information. Within the user profile, consumers can select specific interests (for example, distance running) and then receive content related to those interests (running!). On the home page of the app, the first piece of content shown isn’t about shopping the look (it’s listed second); it’s an article on running in the winter. It’s relevant, timely, and provides added value directly to customers/fans. Not only that, it’s a great way for New Balance to use branded content to promote its winter apparel. How awesome is that?

Smart devices make lifestyle loyalty possible
Carlos Dunlap-Beard, vice president, loyalty solutions & business development at Snipp, stated it clearly during the loyalty webinar, “It’s time to evolve and not continue the practice of making connecting to loyalty programs a separate or multi-step act. Today’s technology will allow us to get there. And isn’t that what we aspire to be – an essential and integrated part of our best customers’ lives? We’ve known that consumers don’t just sit at their computers to connect anymore. And now they’ve moved beyond just a smartphone. They are living their lives and [on] the go, tracking their progress and literally their steps along the way. Therefore, we brands and loyalty service providers need to stay diligent about raising our game to stay connected while they’re on the go.”

New Balance is upping its game with smart devices and directly tying it to their loyalty program. They’ve partnered with Strava to offer a new smartwatch, RunIQ. Runners can track their workouts through Strava and directly sync to the MyNB loyalty program to gain points for workouts. And if you don’t buy the watch, that’s okay, too, as long as you have a Strava account. With your Strava account you can gain points by completing workouts. If you’re a fan of New Balance, you’re likely already doing some type of workout activity. Might as well get some benefits and rewards from it!

New Balance has done an effective job of understanding its consumers and what they want (whether it’s just gaining points from purchases to engaging by tracking workouts). In return, it has pulled together a loyalty program that has allowed people to engage in meaningful ways. As technology and smart devices continue to evolve, I believe more and more companies will follow suit and offer the enriched loyalty programs that consumers are longing for. And if not, they’ll likely be left in the dust.

Posted in: Engagement Programs
ampersand

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