Marketers, it is 2014 and seriously time to get creative with your customer engagement strategies. Here’s a great example of why.
Just yesterday I was in one of my favorite stores, a nationally known co-op. The benefits of membership at this retailer are very straightforward—the more I spend, the more I can expect to receive back at the end of the year. I happened to get a manager as a cashier, and she suggested the store credit card and reminded me of the cash-back benefit of being a member. She was enthusiastic, so I thought I would try out a few suggestions on her. It went something like this:
Me: “Thanks, I’m already a member, but I have a couple of questions: Why don’t you have achievement levels and published milestones for members?”
Manager: “We want all of our shoppers to earn benefits on the first day.”
“Can’t they do that and still be rewarded at increasing levels for bringing more of their business to this brand?
“Yes, but wouldn’t that have to be paid for somehow, meaning the lower-status customers would suffer?”
“What if you could change the math? Wouldn’t rewarding higher purchase levels incent customers to bring more of their shopping to you, increase your average basket size, and also repay your cost of customer acquisition sooner with larger average business per customer?”
“I guess that could.”
“So let’s just play that out. What if status levels could give you another layer of segmentation of your market and an ability to test personalized messages? Wouldn’t that allow you to better engage your highest-spending customers, making them feel rewarded for their high level of loyalty?
“Yes. I can see where you’re going. What’s your name?”
This was one of many conversations I have had when I shop in the stores that aren’t getting creative with customer engagement and loyalty. I’m there for convenience and because I like their offerings, but they’re missing the big picture with me (and losing a chunk of business to other retailers). There is a world of opportunity for brands to not only know their loyal shoppers well, but to use creative ways to tease out the many natural segments within their customer base.
Those segments provide a remarkable platform to test and learn the best ways to build a 21st-century business. Besides, chances are your competition is headed that way.
This post first appeared on the Loyalty Lab blog and has been lightly edited.