Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Creating Loyalty: Using Retail's Most Valuable Data

Growing a loyal customer base is the holy grail of business, especially retail. A recent MarketingProfs infographic illustrates why: Existing retail customers spend 67% more than new customers, and increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by up to 95%. One solution is a great loyalty program. Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between consumers (73% say programs should show the business's loyalty) and marketing execs (66% seek consumer loyalty, read dollars), which is why 97% of loyalty programs are about transaction rewards, and 77% of transaction-based programs fail in the first two years. The bottom line is that retailers need to better profile and segment loyal customers and then develop programs around their needs, not just their transactions--and that means improved data gathering and analytics. A Forbes magazine article by Bryan Pearson, president of LoyaltyOne, highlights nine loyalty trends for 2016 that we think can help refocus data efforts, especially since loyalty program engagement is getting tougher, with the average American household enrolling in 29 loyalty programs but active in only 12. Standard transaction-based points and discounts aren't going to cut through a crowded field to woo loyalty, so watch for a 2016 shift toward using data insights to offer high-value experiences, such as special events or early VIP access to sales, per Pearson. Plus, he notes that even transaction-based loyalty programs are changing shape; it's not just about cards and memberships now that there are apps to gather data and deliver personalized offers, including mobile one-to-one in-store specials (underscoring the need for integrated, multichannel data strategy). Indeed, retailers who truly maximize the value of loyalty data in 2016 will be those who use its insights across the business, not just in a retention silo, to align pricing, promotions and merchandise assortments to better address consumer needs, suggests Pearson. And he adds another way retailers can leverage data investment: Data generated by loyalty programs is a valuable product in itself, as evidenced by The Kroger Co.'s 2014 sale of $100 million in data to product suppliers. For the whole article:

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