Gone are the days when loyalty programs were purely about rewarding your customers for spending a set amount on their purchases. The growing popularity of social media has changed the face of mass marketing, and there is no turning back the clock.
According to COLLOQUY, there are approximately 3.3 billion loyalty program memberships in the US alone. Perhaps most important, is the finding that 76% of US consumers now view loyalty programs as a natural extension of their relationships with brands (Aspect).
The good news for businesses is that social media offers more opportunities than ever before for them to engage with customers, and encourage their brand advocacy by rewarding them not only for their purchases but for their positive input, be it in the form of a product or service review; an image/video featuring your product or service; liking your company page; and so on.
ShopSocially has been connecting with thought leaders in the customer service field to gain insight into the latest trends regarding loyalty programs, and how organizations can realize the full potential of such programs to maximize their market share.
We recently chatted with Flavio Martins, VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc, and award-winning customer service blogger and customer service fanatic. Flavio describes himself as on a mission to demonstrate that organizations can harness their customers’ experience to gain a competitive advantage and win their lifelong loyalty.
Social media and the future of loyalty programs
We asked Flavio how he views the role of social media in the future success of eCommerce-based loyalty programs.
[Answer] Social elements are critical to maximizing the possibilities of loyalty programs. Too many loyalty programs today are falling drastically short of the potential impact they could have in expanding the connection and insight from customers, as well as the overall outreach they could have in generating new customers because said loyalty programs are not built into existing social platforms.
Rather than creating standalone programs where customers are isolated into their own shopping habits, organizations should be tapping into social channels to gain greater customer insight. At the same time, organizations should be enabling their customers to expand the reach of their shopping habits to their circle of friends and followers.
In addition, we asked Flavio for his opinion on whether social media can be integrated into loyalty programs for the quantification of ROI.
[Answer] Not only can it be done, it MUST be done. Imagine the power of a loyalty program that, instead of just giving out coupons that customers are likely to forget or lose, provides social check-ins or social shares of purchases to generate future discount codes or special in-store promotions? Every time a customer acts on that token benefit of the loyalty program, his/her action is amplified to their entire network of friends and followers. It’s the ultimate validation for any organization, with an impact far greater than that achieved by typical ad or marketing campaigns.
Our interview with Flavio proves once again that utilizing social media to encourage customer loyalty is becoming increasingly important for businesses in today’s highly competitive market. Creating a successful loyalty program, however, is not as simple as handing out coupons or discounts; it is reliant on a comprehensive, 360-degree approach.
In today’s tech savvy world it is imperative your loyalty program is accessible to customers regardless of their preferred social platform or device. Ideally, you want to make it easy for your customers to become the loyal brand advocates they’re itching to be. After all, everyone enjoys the opportunity to have his/her opinion heard – evenmore so if there is a fiscal reward for doing so. Tapping into this social need at every possible touch point is ultimately the foundation for a successful loyalty program with a long-term future.
To learn more about how ShopSocially can help you leverage customer loyalty to grow your business click here or call us at +1 650 701 7759 today.