IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality

  • 14 Jul 2014

Keep Customers at the Centre of your Business with an Omnichannel Loyalty Programme

For retailers, the balancing act between keeping up with the ever increasing demands of consumers and providing a personalised service is becoming harder and harder. Customers want the whole package – so how will you give it to them?

To keep customer returning you need to implement an approach which ensures you are consistent and seamless across all platforms. With 63% of consumers using multiple channels when spending over £100, research shows that on average omnichannel shoppers spend more. Retailers need to use this to their advantage, exploring and implementing customer-focused, omnichannel capabilities to meet these evolving expectations and needs.

With increased personalisation and technological advances, customers have come to expect retailers to know who they are, what they purchased, and their preferences for interaction, but to not go so far as to invade their privacy and sense of security.

There is an expectation to connect not only with retailers seamlessly across channels, but also via personalised communications and targeted offers. A study by the ‘Cognizant Shopper’ found that the top three personalisation factors that influence purchase behaviour are;

  • Special treatment based on loyalty
  • Acknowledgement of status
  • Personalised offers

A successful omnichannel loyalty program needs to have the ability to deliver on all these expectations, engaging customers at the right time, in the right place, through the right channel, with the right message. With research finding that 35% of consumers believing that loyalty schemes do in fact keep them loyal to that brand; it’s time to start getting omnichannel loyalty plans in place.

When executed correctly, an omnichannel loyalty program can help identify customers, connect online and offline data to better understand purchase behaviour, deliver timely and relevant experiences, and motivate and reward customers for key behaviours that ultimately drive sales.

Omnichannel loyalty is crucial for retailers for a variety of reasons; engaged customers are 23% more profitable says Gallus research and Corra’s ‘Ecommerce’ research found around 80% of Americans indicate they are more likely to become loyal to retailers who provide a seamless shopping experience across devices. A retailer with a robust loyalty programme in place means that consumers are more likely to shop with that retailer, due to trust and uniformity within the brand as a whole, with omnichannel loyalty programmes driving preference.

Improving customer experience should be at the top of most major retailer’s lists. However, in a Forrester study only 37% of companies listed customer engagement as one of the top business objectives for loyalty campaigns.

Omnichannel loyalty remedies this problem by placing customer engagement much higher on the priority list. With the current trends in place, this will undoubtedly continue as a response to customer expectations and buying behaviour. Omnichannel loyalty is indeed all about delivering the right message at the right time in the right way across the channels the customer chooses.

  • Don’t take more information than is necessary. Stick to the basics, don’t ask customers lots of questions producing data that ultimately you won’t use and that will put them off providing.
  • Don’t over promote and under deliver – don’t promise anything you can’t achieve.
  • Ensure that any rewards scheme that’s put in place is measurable.
  • Move away from paper vouchers, not only are they easier to copy but consumers are now conducting much of their time via mobile devices and expect to be able to perform most tasks via their device.
  • Monitor your data real time and respond immediately when issues arise. Customers operate 24×7 so you should to.
  • Enable loyalty functionality such as enrolment, accrual and redemption across all channels.
  • Reward customers for shopper activity that go beyond purchase alone (such as social interactions).
  • Stay connected with customers through social media, local and mobile technologies.
  • Ensure a seamless experience and consistency across all loyalty interactions.
  • Make loyalty offers and communication relevant and compelling through sophisticated use of data.

Retailers must ensure they are focusing on strategic goals when implementing an omnichannel loyalty program. Although new technology and tactics are required, especially when it comes to the collection and use of data, the fundamental goals and resulting benefits of effective loyalty programs are unchanged. Through a unified view of the customer, retailers can deliver unique messaging in the most cost-effective way, improving profitability and competitiveness.

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