How can I improve customer engagement through loyalty?

The role of loyalty cards is being hotly debated. Some retailers are distancing themselves from schemes in favour of innovations, while others say they are still an asset.

As the sector changes faster than ever, how can retailers ensure their existing loyalty scheme is fit for purpose and how can new programmes meet shoppers’ changing expectations?

Andrew Johnson, director general of the UK Gift Card and Voucher Association, says: “Customers expect a loyalty scheme to work in-store, online and across the entire business.

“The interaction between different platforms needs to be seamless and simplicity is key – if it is unclear what the scheme is offering, the customer is unlikely to engage with it.”

Using gift cards and apps as payment methods for customers to spend their rewards can provide valuable real-time data on where and how a product has been purchased. This information can then be used to develop bespoke rewards, which make a customer feel valued and improve brand reputation as a result.

A more structured approach also makes it easier to raise awareness of these programmes. By using a range of technologies and platforms, it is easy to see the different levels of customer interaction. Furthermore, social media integration means that customers can endorse a brand easily by sharing the rewards they have earned or used.

To achieve this customer engagement retailers must provide a smooth experience for customers across all channels.

“A clear, integrated approach to rewards is therefore essential for ensuring that your loyalty scheme gives you a competitive edge over your rivals” says Johnson.