Top 3 trends to look out for loyalty program in the rest of 2019

Jul 30th, 2019. Posted in: News

Loyalty programs are transferring from “nice-to-have” to “must-have” due to the fact that more companies evolve their businesses around customer retention and consumers’ demands for greater experience are getting higher than ever before. Both big and SMEs continue major improvements to their program by offering new and even-better benefits. 

2019 has gone over half the way and we’ve been seeing advancement to loyalty programs. Here are the 3 biggest trends affecting loyalty industry recently:

1. Loyalty is set free from traditional programs turning to omnichannel and multichannel

Loyalty industry is experiencing unification of CX (customer experience), digital transformation and customer loyalty into one strategy nowadays. It is no longer a separate marketing strategy where people get rewards for their purchases. A recent trend in a loyalty program is that customer advocacy is appreciated and get rewards as well. That is to say, customers’ activities including referring friends, sharing content and subscribing to brands’ social sites are rewarded the same way as buying.

There are two main reasons for combining customer support to loyalty schemes. First of all, WOM marketing has strong impacts on business activities and consumers now have a much greater influence on others’ purchase decisions than ever before. Secondly, technological development enables tracking customers’ activities which makes it easier to reward them.

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This integration results in omnichannel loyalty programs, which connects customers to all touchpoints seamlessly and provides them offer across all these channels. Noticeable examples could be giveaways or raffle for posts about brands on social sites. These activities help raise brand awareness and turn customers into advocates.

2. Exclusiveness is expected

One area that sets loyalty program aside others in the upcoming time is exclusiveness. It is proven that personalization and customer satisfaction has a positive relationship; the more people feel something is specially made for them, the more satisfied and loyal to the brand they become. As a result, loyalty programs are getting to a higher stage where offers are tailored for a specific (group of) customer. 

The higher demand for exclusiveness leads to the forming of fee-based loyalty programs in which customers pay to get undivided benefits. The line between loyalty programs and subscriptions has already begun to obscure. About 75% millennials say they’d join a fee-based loyalty program if their favorite retailers offered one. The most well-known paid membership program is Amazon Prime, which offers a wide range of benefits for a flat annual fee. This part-subscription, part-loyalty program works well in both driving engagement and remaining sustainable revenue.

3. Partnership to become the driver of loyalty programs

A cross-program partnership took place last May between American Airlines and World of Hyatt shows a new trend in the loyalty industry, in which customers can earn points and rewards from outside the main provider. AA-Hyatt loyalty program allows to get bonus points on AA flights and bonus AAdvantage miles for Hyatt stay. More cosmetic brands, for example, cooperate with fashion, or food with entertainment content companies are partnership program to be looked forward to.

Partnerships help businesses expand additional values beyond what they provide alone. Seeing partnerships among favorite brands exhilarates customers and generates interesting experiences, which results in more engagement and higher ROI.

These are the top 3 trends that we think would influence significantly on the loyalty industry. To stay ahead of the competition in the rest of 2019 and upcoming time, brands must continually evolve and might consider applying these trends to their loyalty programs.