How to Build Loyalty in a Contactless World
Not every company has a loyalty program, and not every company has a loyalty team. But right now, every company is evaluating how to build loyalty in a contactless world.
Contactless experiences aren’t new—they’ve simply been accelerated due to Covid-19.
Data emerging from the past few months is telling. According to Mastercard, 79% of people around the world are currently using contactless payments, and 74% will continue to use mobile payments after the pandemic subsides. In early April, Adobe Analytics recorded a 208% YOY increase in online-to-in-store pickup. And an Epsilon survey found that two-thirds of consumers feel there will be permanent changes to daily life due to the pandemic.
How do brands adapt to these shifting behaviors and create contactless experiences that matter? There are four essential building blocks for a successful contactless loyalty program that will resonate with customers.
1. Reassess the value exchange you have with customers
The relationship between the brand and the customer is built on a two-way value exchange that meets customers’ rational and emotional needs. A customer that likes your brand might open your emails, but a customer that loves your brand will drive the extra seven miles to the next exit where your hotel is located.
Forrester’s Emily Collins echoed similar sentiments in a recent report. “It’s natural to want to jump in with a specific use case or channel, but laying out the existing loyal customer journey grounds you in the customer’s state, rather than your short-term business objectives,” she said.
In a world that is socially distanced, the question now becomes: What value is your brand actually creating in a contactless environment that will still elicit those feelings of love? Can you deliver real-time rewards and experiences that build long-term loyalty, and factor in the new expectations that consumers have?
Marriott is a great example of a brand that shifted to add real value this year through contactless engagements in their Marriott Bonvoy app.
For example, after 4 p.m., travelers receive a push notification to check-in and another notification when their room is ready. And they can then unlock their room from their phone, watch or Siri with Mobile Key Shortcuts. Plus, at the conclusion of their stay, guests can check out through their phone and have their receipt emailed, again allowing them to skip the front desk and keep a safe distance from other travelers.
These updates appeal to both the rational and emotional side of the loyalty equation because they provide easier access to entry and checkout and they ease anxiety for travelers. This provides a true value-add to customers while also encouraging loyalty app downloads and use.
Originally published on adweek.com October 2020