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Consumer loyalty – it’s all about the experience

How successful are loyalty schemes? And how in touch with today’s customers are loyalty schemes that first came into existence up to 30 years ago? In the UK, on average, people are enrolling in 14 loyalty programmes (according to research from Bond Brand Loyalty), which means that schemes are in danger of losing their significance as they jostle for position with other similar schemes. In research carried out by Deloitte’s, it was discovered that today’s consumer sees loyalty rewards as the norm, not a differentiator and consumers are generally looking for a more personal and relevant approach than simply points or financial incentives. Real consumer buy-in to a brand comes from creating benefits for the consumer – something seen as more beneficial than points on a loyalty card. That is not to say that loyalty schemes are dropping off in popularity. In fact, more than 50 per cent of consumers are regular users of loyalty schemes and will make use of a brand loyalty scheme at least once a month. However, in a survey of more than 2.,000 people, 42 per cent said they needed more than just points to persuade them to shop with a particular brand. The most valued aspect of a brand and the factor that keeps consumers returning, is the overall experience. Today’s consumer wants a shopping experience that is easy and frictionless. Yes, rewards are important, but the overall experience matters most. Consumers are far more likely to remember a positive experience than they are to remember a discount. Deloitte’s research looked at the main drivers that influenced consumer affection for a brand. The top three factors were: the best quality goods and services (50%); trust in the brand (52%) and value for money (64%). Brand loyalty schemes sat mid table on 26%. The message coming back loud and clear from the research is that today’s consumers like to be recognised and rewarded as individuals, not faceless point collectors. They want to be rewarded based on their personal tastes and to choose how the interaction between brand and consumer occurs. Among the consumer feedback comments were: “I want the option of personalised rewards based on my purchase history.” “I want a loyalty scheme that better reflects my lifestyle, such as offering me ‘freebies’ for activities I enjoy.” Responding to changing consumer demand is vital if brands are to stay ahead of the curve. Tesco, the huge superstore chain, has re-introduced the ClubCard adding contactless technology. This saves customers time at the checkout and also has the capability of linking people to partner groups such as Uber and hotel.com. With an increasingly savvy consumer base, it is important that brands collaborate with the consumers to give them what they want. A successful loyalty scheme will give consumers some say over the selection of rewards and the level of interaction, this in turn leads to greater success of the scheme. The digital age means that businesses must be agile and flexible so they can realign their consumer experience programme to meet a constantly changing consumer expectation. With competitors eager to fill any gap in the market, anything that a business can do to make the consumer experience a positive one, will help shore up levels of loyalty. Read the full report from Deloitte’s here and do chat to one of our expert staff to discuss how we can help you increase your consumer loyalty levels. >Deloitte UK consumer review customer loyalty