The loyalty industry is a vibrant and rapidly evolving field that has seen remarkable changes in recent years. However, it also confronts several complex challenges that threaten optimal client engagement and implementation of effective programmes. As the industry braces for substantial growth in this decade (the global loyalty management market is expected to reach USD 10.02 billion by 2027, according to Grand View Research), I thought I would delve into these pressing issues and examine some remedies to these potential hurdles. Here are ten key areas that challenge the conceptualisation and practice of customer loyalty. Cheekily, I have also noted how meed tackles them.
Lack of Differentiation
The loyalty industry often grapples with non-unique programme designs. It isn't uncommon to see organisations operating loyalty schemes with nearly interchangeable rewards, resulting in a severe lack of differentiation. This dearth of uniqueness subtracts from the overall appeal of these programs, positing them as mere cookie-cutter solutions that lack originality or innovative thinking. To reverse this, the industry needs to shift gears towards personalisation and customisation of experiences.
meed focuses on personalising rewards based on demonstrated interests and behaviours, using machine learning and generative AI to recognise buyer groups and product copy to entice them. Also, meed will develop a social layer around the platform, enabling engagement beyond transactions and redemptions.
One significant issue facing customer loyalty is the overcomplicated structures of some programs. Potential redeemers often find the convoluted process of earning and redeeming rewards unpalatably intricate, resulting in lost interest. A straightforward, simple-to-understand and easy-to-navigate rewards system can ramp up participation and engagement, enhancing overall customer satisfaction with the programme.
meed's redemption platform is as simple as it gets. Show the QR code, and the system redeems. We believe fervently that the way to build customer loyalty is by demonstrating that you want them to come back again and again and enjoy the privileges they earn.
Notwithstanding the ease of registering for loyalty programmes, many customers refrain from actively participating. This could be attributed to forgetfulness, lack of interest, or diminished perceived value in these programmes. Increasing engagement mandates a closer industry focus on programme design, customer journey mapping, and maximising perceived value.
meed tackles this in many ways. Our onboarding for all customers, from independent retail to enterprise, is the snap of a QR code. We also add a gamification layer that encourages program participation and rewards outside individual loyalty memberships.
The existing loyalty landscape is highly fragmented, with consumers participating in multiple programs across various brands, which can feel overwhelming. Consequently, customers grapple with managing their diverse rewards portfolio from different sources. Harmonising rewards across the board or facilitating centralised tracking could minimise this fragmentation and make consumers' experience less burdensome.
meed is a single platform. While there is an option to create a white-label instance of the platform, everything still uses the meed loyalty engine, which means consumers can manage all their loyalty programs in one place. We believe that by solving this problem, we will provide the highest incentive for businesses to use meed to power their loyalty. If it is good for the consumer, it is good for the retailer.
Poorly personalised or disastrous frequency of messages can be a significant detriment to consumer engagement. Personalised and nuanced communication conveyed through the preferred client touch points offers a more profound, more engaging connection with customers and reduces the risk of communication fatigue.
meed's scalable personalisation approach means that the right rewards and privileges are put on the phones and thus in the hands of the correct recipients.
Some loyalty programs are myopic, focusing on immediate rewards and discounts rather than building long-term customer relationships. Once the short-term incentives exhaust or lose their sheen, customers feel little reason to remain tied to the programme, leading to churn. The industry should pivot towards fostering enduring relationships, engendering brand advocacy and creating lifetime value.
This is where the social layer of meed is vital. Loyalty is not just about giving the means to reward customers, although Meed, of course, does that. It is about engaging with the customer and creating a contract with them. The relationship must have substance for a loyalty program to work effectively.
Changing Consumer Behaviour
Changing lifestyles, aspirations, and shopping habits demand loyalty programs that possess the agility to adapt promptly. Newly mainstream paradigms like digital wallets and contactless payments have impressive ramifications on traditional loyalty models; programmes must evolve to remain relevant to emergent consumer behaviour.
The meed Loyalty Engine can register and reward engagement from bricks and mortar, eCommerce, Web3, and social engagement. The meed app has a built-in digital wallet, effectively making it a decentralised identity passport. meed will also expand the app experience to include payments. We are considering expanding our offering to retail businesses, especially independent retail, to include point-of-sale solutions. We will undoubtedly build plugins for major eCommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. meed is designed with the future in mind.
Data Privacy Concerns
Collecting and using customer data for personalisation in an era that values privacy highly can evoke serious concerns. Achieving an optimal balance between delivering a personalised experience while assuring unambiguous respect and protection for privacy is a crucial aspect to focus on in loyalty programme development.
To use the meed app for the first time, a consumer must only confirm their phone number. We don't ask for their name, although there is the option for us to earn that information later. For businesses, we don't share personal information. We share behaviour. meed protects program operators on our platform from the dangers of misusing personally identifiable data because they don't access it.
Unused loyalty points are, metaphorically, money left on the table. A significant challenge for the industry remains in ensuring that customers claim their rewards effectively to leverage value fully. Designing timely, relevant and appealing rewards can enhance their redemption chances.
The meed app rewards the total usage of all it offers through its gamification layer. Redeeming rewards is one of the ways consumers can level up their membership and earn additional rewards from third-party marketers. As to the rewards, we offer a full suite of tools for businesses to control their longevity and ensure they are accurately targeted to customers who are likely to respond.
Every reward carries a cost. Businesses need to juggle offering attractive rewards with maintaining financial viability delicately. A skyrocketing redemption rate could lead to budget constraints for businesses, making it imperative to engineer optimised programmes for customer satisfaction and operational sustainability.
meed's analytics layer ensures that businesses have the information they need to see the health of their rewards system and what is still out there that can be redeemed. Not all rewards need to be discounted. They can be privileges just as crucial for rewarding regular custom.
In the final analysis, the loyalty industry must tackle these challenges head-on to develop meaningful and sustainable programmes that are attuned to the preferences of its most integral stakeholder - its customers. As the industry gears up for the pressure of impressive growth, committing to fix these issues will likely offer definitively favourable outcomes.
meed's novel approach with the meed loyalty engine is designed to tackle these problems head-on as we move into a new paradigm driven by new technologies and forms of customer engagement.