CStore Decisions: Where Do Loyalty Programs Go From Here?

CStore Decisions: Where Do Loyalty Programs Go From Here?

June 21, 2021   |   By Natalie Richey

Brands are constantly predicting consumers’ wants and needs so digital experiences and mobile strategies can be perfectly tailored to their target audiences before the consumer can even decide what they want for themselves. However, with the slow disappearance of masks and stay-at-home orders, will brands be able to predict consumers’ next move? In Frank Beard’s new CStore Decisions article, Where Do Loyalty Programs Go From Here?, he highlights potential loyalty initiatives along with Hathway CMO, Kevin Rice, who explains that loyalty is an outcome, not a strategy.

Moving Apps Forward

Proven during the pandemic, a successful loyalty program only comes from a deep-rooted understanding of your customer.  To do this, it is fundamentally key to leverage your data effectively. To emphasize this point, Beard states, “By understanding their needs and behaviors, retailers can identify specific tactics and techniques that can lead to a return on their investments.”

Loyalty as the Outcome

Loyalty is an outcome of a great experience, and more so the product of an emotional connection versus a rational one. Piggybacking off this idea, Rice reminds readers of the Mac Versus PC commercials where PC computers are a smarter economic decision yet, Apple computers align to consumers values and aspirations. Rice goes on to say, “If you have a strong emotional connection, customers are less likely to switch brands than when the relationship is based solely on discounts.”

Creating Your Story

A one size fits all approach for a loyalty program isn’t going to cut it for convenience store brands. However, a subscription-based approach could be a useful way for c-store brands to get their foot in the door in this ever competitive industry. Beard explains that subscription programs could provide clear results to retailers in terms of effective price points and purchasing patterns of their customers. Better yet, he goes on to explain that “subscription programs present clear opportunities for upselling — a tactic that has been traditionally difficult in convenience retail.”

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