The ability to combine traditional loyalty programs with social media holds great promise for retailers and brands trying to strengthen retention, says a new report by eMarketer. But there are several key steps retailers must take in order to be successful—or they’ll risk simply becoming another forgotten “like.”
The new report, “Social Loyalty: From Rewards to a Rewarding Customer Experience,” analyzes findings from dozens of third-party research providers and interviews with industry executives, outlining several best practices for marketers looking to improve customer loyalty.
Why? Because many traditional loyalty programs are not highly effective, eMarketer notes. While loyalty programs have been popular in the US for years—with the average American consumer belonging to 18 loyalty programs according to loyalty marketing publisher COLLOQUY—whether these members are active is another story.
“Points, coupons and freebies are great for grabbing initial attention,” eMarketer says. “But in the long run these promotions can’t make up for a lackluster customer experience. Through the use of social media, retailers and brands can identify and interact with the most profitable internet users.”
The full report examines the benefits social loyalty programs provide consumers and brands, as well as the challenges they create for marketers.
“Loyalty can be won through encouraging word-of-mouth and creating advocates, by raising a user’s social status, by surprising and entertaining shoppers in unexpected ways and also by listening to customers’ needs and suggestions and responding in a mutually beneficial fashion,” eMarketer says.
Key Takeaways from “Social Loyalty: From Rewards to Rewarding a Customer Experience”:
Major challenges for loyalty marketers addressed in the report include:
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