Competition to engage customers has never been fiercer. Customers resonate with retailers and brands that know what they want, without spamming them and applying ‘FOMO’ or ‘URGENCY’ tactics consumers have started to ignore these strategies and take to social platforms to complain about them.

Retailers that are building loyalty programmes need to be stitched together to create a frictionless buying experience. With so many fragmented touchpoints to consider, mobile platforms such as Stocard’s mobile wallets are crucial to obtaining a real-time, 360-view of individuals.

By centralising data points captured across various purchasing points off and online, retailers have a chance to truly deliver on emotional relevance rather than relying on mass ‘cookie cutter communications’. According to McKinsey, brands that get real-time personalisation right can deliver eight-times the ROI of their marketing spend and lift sales by over 10%.

As a result, there will be a focus on highly specific, smart targeting, right down to the area individuals are in at that specific time. This empowers retailers to localise its offers and messages, making the transactional process across the entire purchase journey more targeted and informative. In turn, this type of outreach helps individuals feel listened to and valued, and drives an emotional connection that results in loyalty.

Based on our own access to millions of Australian shoppers’ loyalty card usage data, I have identified three key areas retailers should focus on to continue to propel forward and build loyalty amongst their customers.

1. Capitalise on your customer’s data

Stocard’s data shows that a staggering 4 in 5 Australian Stocard users have a grocery loyalty card. That is approximately 4.2 million Stocard shoppers. Furthermore, 45% have a health and beauty card, 45% a department card and 46% a fashion loyalty card. Our data also reveals that Stocard users on average use the app 10 times per month and have 12 digital loyalty cards stored on the app.

With so many Stocard app users being part of loyalty programs, this presents a huge opportunity for Stocard to provide retailers with data about their most loyal customers. 

But what sorts of data can Stocard collect and how can it be used?

Through the app, Stocard can generate a variety of data points ranging from what time of day customers shop, what their food preferences are and whether they have kids. Such 1st party data provides a unique opportunity for retailers to create more personalised marketing programs and have more loyal and engaged customers.

For example, Woolies recently announced that they had invested in their loyalty platform Everyday Rewards and formally launched it in Tasmania where a legacy program had been in place previously. As a result, the membership base grew to 12.8 million by the end of December, and scan rates at Woolworths Supermarkets increased to 50.8%.

2. Focus on the brick-and-mortar store where you can create an emotional connection

While Amazon has been delivering a seamless and convenient way of shopping during the pandemic, the brick- and- mortar store still has a place in shopper’s hearts. In my opinion, Amazon lacks personalisation and misses the human touch that makes shopping experiences truly memorable.

This is an opportunity for brick and mortar shops to ‘double down on personalisation’ to continue driving shoppers in-store. What’s key is the omni-channel communication where retailers can engage with their customers via digital channels to encourage shoppers back into the store. There, consumers can interact with salespeople, further building emotional connections with the retailer and driving loyalty. Partnering with Stocard is a great way to creae an omni-channel customer experience.

3. Support sustainable retail because your shoppers do

Shoppers have cared about sustainability long before Covid-19 and this trend will continue to impact loyalty. Buyers will look to remain loyal to retailers that demonstrate action over platitudes; retailers that enable consumers to be part of the solution.

As sustainability grows in importance and moves to become a purchasing driver, retailers will need to focus more on delivering sustainable initiatives. For example, Coles supermarket recently announced that it will no longer sell single-use plastic tableware in all stores Which is believed to divert 1.5 million kilograms worth of single-use plastic from landfill each year.

At Stocard we are seeing more paper catalogues being replaced with a digital-only catalogue and more eco-friendly and cost- effective promotional materials being created. A mobile platform like Stocard is the perfect vehicle to relay offers and messages that point shoppers towards alternative more sustainable behaviours. Using Stocard’s app, shoppers can digitise their plastic loyalty cards for free and browse retailers catalogues digitally. Through these features, Stocard has replaced 700 million cards globally and 600 million printed offers.

To win customers, retailers need to fully leverage the value of customer data by creating incentives that make it easier for customers to earn and burn loyalty points. They also must focus campaigns on restoring shopper confidence to make instore purchases. Finally, retailers need to make the shift to digital whether customers are consuming content and it supports sustainable commerce.

Radinck Van Vollenhoven is managing director for Stocard Australia