Tom Caporaso, CEO of Clarus Commerce, explains the importance of offering loyalty programs that inspire and engage consumers and meet their evolving needs.
Cleveland — The pandemic has clearly altered how many consumers are thinking about and purchasing food. But what does this mean for brands in the long run? Considering more than two-thirds (68 percent) of customers say their loyalty is more difficult to maintain than ever before, it’s critical for brands to meet consumers’ wants and needs.
To satisfy customers’ evolving desires and tastes, snack brands need to create a robust loyalty strategy that enables them to engage with their customers on a more personal level.
Brands Are Failing To Meet Customer Expectations
Customer expectations are changing and brands aren’t rising to the challenge. In fact, 82 percent of marketers believe they are meeting customer expectations. But in reality, only 10 percent of consumers strongly agree that most brands provide an experience that meets their expectations. Clearly, brands are failing to satisfy their customers’ needs and the consequences can be serious.
With 1 in 3 (32 percent) customers now saying they would leave a brand they loved after a single negative experience, nailing the customer experience is vital to the organization’s bottom line. If a customer is looking for healthier alternatives but their favorite snack brands aren’t serving up products that fulfill their desired attributes, that customer relationship is at stake.
To boost retention, snack brands need to take the customer experience even further. A comprehensive loyalty strategy that excites and engages can help exceed customer expectations and ensure customer affinity amid evolving attitudes.
3 Tips For Creating Lasting Customer Loyalty
Consumers might be shopping differently, but there are still solutions you can use to maintain and expand your customer base. To enhance the customer experience and create brand ambassadors, you need to optimize your loyalty strategy.
Here are a few tips for sweetening your approach to loyalty:
- Bolster your loyalty program: Loyalty programs have always been a great way to engage customers on a more personal level and collect valuable customer information. In a cookieless future, loyalty programs are the key to zero-party (i.e., information customers intentionally share with a company) and first-party (i.e., information companies collect from their own sources) data. But to gain this information, you need an enticing loyalty program. Offering faster rewards and perks like digital punch cards, rebates and social kickbacks reel in customers. But you can take it further by providing rewards that encourage customers to engage with your brand even more. For example, you could run digital sweepstakes opportunities and offer instant win rewards to customers who continually purchase your brand’s products.
- Encourage brand ambassadorship: For your best customers, offer more immediate benefits like instant discounts and product samples as well as unique benefits like VIP experiences. More personalized engagements with customers can help create brand advocates. In fact, 88 percent of loyalty members say they’re likely to recommend a merchant with valuable loyalty benefits to a family member or friend. By offering exclusive benefits like brand merchandise, experiences or products tailored specifically to each customer, you can encourage word-of-mouth marketing. Many consumers take their snacks seriously, and merchandise is a great way to help loyal customers share their love.
- Offer benefits that align with lifestyle values: You need to stay ahead of changing consumer trends if you want to outpace the competition. If the data says your customers are prioritizing health and wellness, then you need to create loyalty experiences that mirror their desire. To start, determine what your customers value and find a way to introduce it into your loyalty program benefits. For example, if your customers are looking for healthier snack options, you could offer a live virtual cooking class where you show them how to use your products in a variety of fun and healthy ways. Experiential benefits are an effective way to invite your customers in and encourage them to engage with your brand even more.
Customers’ tastes and expectations are evolving — but you can meet and exceed them by offering loyalty opportunities that inspire. By giving your customers access to an engaging loyalty program, you can strengthen your loyalty strategy. And with personalized benefits that fit consumers’ lifestyles, you can encourage your customers to interact and engage even more.
Contributor Info: Tom Caporaso is the CEO of Clarus Commerce, which specializes in customizable end-to-end loyalty solutions. He has been in the loyalty and subscription space for more than 25 years. Caporaso also has a 100% CEO approval rating on Glassdoor, a 2020 leadership award from The Hartford Courant, and has helped Clarus Commerce earn the Connecticut Top Workplaces award every year since 2013.