Nowadays, maintaining customer loyalty and engagement is one of the most important factors that give you a competitive advantage.. However, the traditional approach to customer loyalty is no longer sufficient enough to stay on the top.
With many different shopping channels and ways of interacting with customers, you need to take care of this by leveraging multiple methods at the same time, to multiply their effect. This is where the concept of omnichannel loyalty emerges. It is a comprehensive and holistic approach to building customer loyalty that integrates multiple communication channels.
By reading the article, you will find out the benefits for companies introducing omnichannel loyalty and discover examples of omnichannel activities that can contribute to the success of loyalty programs.
What Is Omnichannel Loyalty?
Omnichannel loyalty is an approach that combines activities conducted both online and offline. It focuses on reaching customers in all possible ways, such as through a mobile app, emails, membership cards, and social media. It helps in keeping the brand in the customer's mind and drives increased customer engagement.
The most important principle of omnichannel loyalty is to become part of the customer's lifestyle by any means possible. This model makes it possible to build customer loyalty by constantly existing in the customer's consciousness, which is made possible by engaging them through various tactics.
What else is worth keeping in mind?
- Omnichannel loyalty is achieved by maintaining continuous contact and providing relevant offers that respond to the customer's needs
- An omnichannel approach is not equal to a multichannel approach, in which each channel impacts the customer separately. Omnichannel loyalty uses all channels together, which multiplies their impact
- A holistic approach to engaging customers with a wide variety of stimuli should be done in a non-intrusive way. Otherwise, constant exposure to this type of message could make the customer overtired and frustrated, and perceive the brand's own message as spam.
The most important goal of omnichannel loyalty is to increase customer engagement by improving their relationship with the brand. In order to achieve this, you need to engage with the customer's particular lifestyle and become part of their daily life. The right narrative and storytelling comes in handy for this, but the culmination of this is just maintaining a relationship with them all the time through a variety of offline and online channels.
Traditional vs. Omnichannel Loyalty Programs
The main goal of traditional loyalty programs is to build engagement by encouraging customers to collect points, which in later stages of loyalty programs are exchanged for discounts.
What is an Omnichannel Loyalty Program?
Compared to the traditional approach, the omnichannel loyalty program targets many more elements of the marketing strategy simultaneously. This achieves even better customer engagement and improves the customer's relationship with the brand, instead of focusing exclusively on encouraging customers to spend money and collect points.
- The most important feature of omnichannel loyalty programs is contact with a different intention than simply encouraging the customer to buy the product. Instead, the brand also reaches out to the customer outside of the purchase window to stay top-of-mind. These interactions should be more friendly, and can, for example, inform about brand events and build a brand narrative, about what the company is involved in or talk about the brand's values.
- Omnichannel loyalty programs are more interactive and often use tools such as gamification to evoke full immersion. It allows brands to stay in touch with their customers between transactions.
- An omnichannel approach gives more sources of information about the customer. These are gained, for example, through the ratings that customers give, the surveys they fill out, and the mapping of their purchases to physical locations through special IDs that are used during payment.
- The ability to earn additional points without any financial cost will increase customer engagement even more. This can be achieved in many ways. For example, customers can fill out product surveys or rate the level of customer service they receive while shopping in a stationary store and earn points along the way.
Both strategies are used by businesses to engage customers through different channels. What distinguishes them from each other is their attitude to gathering and utilizing information.
Multichannel approach concentrates on using multiple sales channels, such as physical stores, websites, social media platforms, mobile apps etc. to sell products and services. In this model, each channel is independent and uses a unique marketing and sales strategy.
This approach utilizes only individual channels. The gathered information is not merged across the channels. By having the customer use those sales platforms that are most convenient for them, some of the channels may hold less data and appear fudged.
Omnichannel Approach, however, strives for seamless, unobtrusive and interconnected customer experience. It is a customer centric approach that involves connecting all channels and creating a consistent communication with the customer. This is achieved by centralizing the process of gathering and processing of customer data and transferring it between channels.
Omnichannel approach brings the same message to the customer at any time, regardless of the communication or sales channel they use. If a customer mainly uses one particular communication channel and someday decides to use another, they won't feel any difference.
Therefore, the omnichannel approach can be treated as an extension of the multichannel approach, which provides more control over the customer experience and delivers personalized content to the customer regardless of the communication method. This helps achieve better customer engagement and evokes even greater loyalty.
8 Benefits of Omnichannel Loyalty Programs
The omnichannel loyalty approach is all about making the brand a part of the customer's lifestyle while becoming their natural choice under all conditions. Here's how a well-executed marketing effort can yield positive results for your brand.
1. Increased brand awareness
Unobtrusive interactions and keeping customers constantly reminded of your presence connects them to the brand. An omnichannel approach is reaching out to customers through social media campaigns, contests, hashtags, as well as storytelling and narrative building to build brand awareness.
2. Enhanced customer experience
Personalized content makes customers' perceptions of a company more favorable. As a result, they value the company more and have a better opinion of it. With personalized messages, they also feel more appreciated, and relationships are deeper and friendlier.
3. Access to better quality customer data
An omnichannel approach allows you to collect more data, because it encourages customers to contribute and and actively participate in the process. Such tools include surveys, physical cards and other forms of identification, like their phone number, which allow us to collect more data about customers and their offline purchases to offer them better and more relevant offers.
4. Making data-driven decisions
Collecting data also allows the company to make better planning and optimization in stationary stores. With the help of AI in marketing, this data can be used to optimize staff deployment, delivery, or infrastructure, learn about customer habits, and make more informed data-driven decisions.
5. Improved emotional loyalty
The brand's involvement in everyday life creates not only commitment in customers, but also a deep emotional bond that makes the brand their partner and first choice, even if shopping with a competitor is more convenient at the moment.
6. Greater word-of-mouth marketing
Customers are smarter than ever, and they are constantly seeking recommendations for a product. Word-of-mouth marketing and brand advocacy are therefore essential omnichannel loyalty components.
7. Greater value of a single customer
Emotionally engaged customers are more likely to return to a brand. Another important factor is that a single engaged customer is willing to spend more money during shopping.
8. Competitive advantage
Data-driven decisions, cost savings, optimization, increased customer loyalty and engagement all stem from an omnichannel approach to loyalty.
Examples of Omnichannel Loyalty Programs
Omnichannel loyalty has numerous advantages for business. Combining many different channels to reach customers allows you to achieve synergy and gives you much better results than using each channel separately. Here's how you can implement tools for evoking omnichannel loyalty with your loyalty programs:
- Sending personalized offers once a day - each customer can receive a different offer. Their selection is based on what they have bought so far. This is how some supermarket chains work: customers can choose "their" stores in the application, that is, the ones they are nearest to. If a customer likes a certain selection of products, they can be offered relevant items – with the option to choose those that may be sold out soon.
- Sending emails or push notifications asking for ratings awhile after the purchase - then the rating is valid and the customer has a sense of empowerment. They can exert influence on the environment and the brand, which makes them feel more connected to it
- Membership cards – while these are used less and less, physical membership cards can be used while shopping. Nowadays, successful loyalty programs use other forms of identification, e.g. apps, phone numbers, or QR codes.
How Comarch Can Help
IT service providers play a key role in the implementation of the omnichannel loyalty strategy. Comarch loyalty program platform provides tools and technological solutions for retail, such as
- CRM systems,
- Data Analysis Tools
- Marketing automation and content personalization tools based on AI and Machine Learning that enable companies to effectively manage and implement omnichannel loyalty.
Thanks to cooperation with Comarch, your company can effectively implement loyalty programs and create better relationships with customers. This will translate into their greater involvement, and will also allow the company to achieve a greater advantage over the competition
Boost your retail loyalty program With Comarch. Reach out to us and find out how we can help you!