No matter how loud a brand shouts it is often collective customer opinion which will ultimately determine success. With more businesses hiring celebrities and influential bloggers to promote their products or services, businesses are beginning to recognise the importance of customer advocacy. But to achieve what is arguably the most effective marketing tool, businesses need to develop and nurture a sense of loyalty.
At a time when customer attention spans are at their lowest due to digital technology, creating a sense of brand loyalty isn’t as easy as it once was. For businesses to cash in on the benefits of a loyal shopper they need to ensure that the customer’s experience is optimised. Shopping experiences can be enhanced in several ways, for example; a seamless experience across multiple channels, personalised emails, tailored offers and rewards, are just some of the ways businesses can look to improve the customer purchase journey.
One of the most effective ways to both enhance shopper experience while benefiting the retailer is to implement a loyalty program. By signing up to the programme, shoppers enter valuable data which can be optimised by retailers and centre owners to provide key insights into centre and individual brand performance, even down to what share of the customer’s wallet each brand received.
By rewarding shoppers for being loyal, centre owners and retailers can create a mutually beneficial relationship. These financial or experiential rewards then encourage customers to advocate the business promoting the rewards they have been given for through the program. This type of advocacy then inspires return visits. As 30% of shoppers account for 70% of a centre’s turnover, it’s important to keep your best shoppers coming back.
According to our research, a quarter (25%) of shopping centres already have a loyalty program in place, with a further 61% planning to implement one by 2019. Our study also showed that businesses main concern when it comes to loyalty schemes was with the implementation of the program. But the recent agnostic point of sales (POS) advancements in this area means that loyalty implementation does not affect existing processes, even in some of the busiest retailers such as Tesco and Primark. Retailers are able to reap the rewards without any negative impact on their business.
Shopping centre loyalty programs can also provide brands with a wealth of valuable insight. Through the program, centres and retailers can determine key metrics and data which provides businesses with a deeper understanding of their customers, which in turn enables them to optimise their shopper’s experience by making it more relevant to their behaviour. As a result, top spending shoppers are encouraged to visit more or to make just one more transaction while advocating the brand and bringing in new top shoppers.
Customer advocacy is a simple and successful concept but it can be extremely hard to obtain and manage. By ensuring that customer experiences are optimum, retailers will find that they are more likely to create an army of brand advocates that will grow the business organically and drive success.
If you enjoyed discovering about the science behind customer advocacy, we recommend watching our latest webinar! It includes input from shopping centres and retailers across the world sharing their experiences with loyalty and how they were able to secure success from day one.
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