Digital transformation and innovation have moved beyond punchy buzzwords; they’re a necessity and can mean the difference between success and failure for businesses, especially in an industry as competitive as retail.

As digital innovation continues to shape the world at large, forward-thinking merchants are increasingly replacing outdated platforms with newer, more modern solutions to better capture important customer metrics. Recent studies confirm this, with 67 per cent of Australian merchants citing e-commerce and online shopping platforms as top investment areas.[1]

Australian consumers also expect more, especially with the cost of living increasing. As fuel prices rise, and high transport costs filter down and raise the cost of groceries and other everyday essentials, consumers are starting to feel the pinch, with many looking for ways to reduce costs and get more for their money.

Loyalty programs are an easy way for customers to maximise their spending habits; however, they can also add unnecessary steps to the purchase process for customers looking to save on time as well as costs. That’s why it’s essential for merchants to embrace new technology now to stay at the forefront of change. By making considered updates, like replacing a traditional, membership card-carrying rewards program with frictionless, card-linked systems, merchants can improve the customer experience (CX) while benefiting from software as a service (SaaS) that eliminates the need for complex infrastructure provisioning.

There are two major ways harnessing the power of digital innovations like frictionless, SaaS solutions can help retailers optimise their loyalty programs:

  1. Simple to implement, simple to use

Card-linked loyalty programs can be simple for retailers to set up, as well as being affordable, making them accessible for merchants of all sizes. This enables small, independent retailers, as well as larger chains, offer comprehensive rewards programs that let customers get the most out of their rewards memberships.

Engaging with a platform provider also helps retailers that may not have the in-house resources to connect with and leverage a system that collects critical customer data, helping them to deliver more relevant offers and opportunities to customers for future transactions.

By leveraging frictionless, card-linked loyalty programs, retailers can also deliver a simpler experience for customers at the point of sale. Card-linked solutions mean that customers don’t have to scan codes or present membership cards during transactions, eliminating the need for customers to carry multiple membership cards on their person to accrue rewards points.

2. Greater rewards opportunities, improved customer loyalty

Digital innovations can also help merchants offer far more to customers beyond a seamless purchasing experience. Online platforms that offer a connected ecosystem of program partners let merchants and customers benefit from a diverse range of options including charitable donations, cashback, or even superannuation contributions. This gives customers the opportunity to save on their weekly shop, or to think further ahead and save in other areas.

Ease of use is essential for today’s digital society; however, helping customers to get more for less is also critical and helps to foster greater customer loyalty. And leveraging an existing platform that is ready for merchants to use also helps to save on time and cost for merchants that continue to recover from the effects of pandemic-related shutdowns. 

By adopting a platform that is bank- and card-agnostic and production-ready with zero investment in IT, merchants can be guaranteed a futureproof and resilient business decision. And, by delivering a frictionless, streamlined loyalty program for customers that saves on time and costs at the point of sale, merchants can help customers get more bang for their buck, while delivering seamless customer experiences that help to foster greater loyalty.

Chris Carroll is executive chairman at Loyalty Now.