3 Trends That Will Likely Dominate Customer Loyalty Programs In 2024


Zsuzsa Kecsmar is the Chief Strategy Officer of Antavo Loyalty Cloud, a top loyalty technology vendor.

Loyalty programs are often recognized as a way to retain customers and let companies showcase their brand values. Yet, in the current economic landscape, the stakes are higher than ever. Marketers and loyalty professionals need to figure out a way to create innovative and engaging loyalty programs that are flexible enough to adapt to current and future market challenges. To create an actionable plan, you need the right information and a wide-angle look at the industry.

This was the motivation behind our company’s recently published Global Customer Loyalty Report. We surveyed loyalty program owners—instead of the public—to showcase future trends that companies need to take into account for their programs. After analyzing 30.5 million member actions and the survey responses of more than 600 companies and industry experts, we identified the following trends:

1. Micro-Targeting: Get Up Close And Personal

Companies constantly need to ensure the right cost-benefit ratio for every strategic decision they implement, rationalizing why one idea will be more cost-effective and beneficial than another. This is where micro-targeting comes into play.

If personalization is the strategy to stay relevant, micro-targeting is the tool to carry it out. Micro-targeting is also an ideal platform to incorporate loyalty data. Utilizing customer insights, such as past purchase data, survey answers or gamified profiling, you can use micro-targeting to maximize customer satisfaction and reward redemption. According to our report, program members who redeem personalized rewards have more than four times higher spending than those who don’t. In an atmosphere where customers expect considerate and customized offers from brands, implementing this strategy is a must.

2. Achieving High ROI: Steer Customer Retention Toward Profitability

It is a nice achievement to have leadership representatives or stakeholders sit down at the table and consider implementing a loyalty program, but you also need to be aware that the first questions they will ask are:

• How long will this take?

• How much will it cost?

• How much of a return on investment (ROI) can we expect?

The answer to the first and second questions depends heavily on specific user cases. The answer regarding ROI is more straightforward. According to our report sample pool, among those who run active loyalty programs and also measure ROI, 9 out of 10 companies reported a positive impact. Essentially, positive ROI means two things: Your loyalty members truly make up a loyal audience who keep engaging with your brand and purchase your products or services, and since your return is higher than your investment, your efforts achieved their goal. The key is to keep nurturing and adapting your program to elevate it even more.

Such clarity can only be achieved by building a loyalty program with clear reporting capabilities. Working with the right tech integrations and ensuring fast and seamless data migration are two critical factors in achieving efficient measuring.

3. Revamping And Replatforming: Move In The Right Direction

While we’re on the subject of efficiency, implementing new, innovative features and bringing the tech stack to supportive and capable platforms were also huge trends among our respondents. What’s the motivation behind these trends? While customers love traditional loyalty program aspects like point collection and tier advancement, they also crave new opportunities and experiences that fit their everyday lifestyles (everything mobile: games, challenges, social media connections, etc.). However, gearing a loyalty program toward a new, innovative loyalty concept is often halted by outdated, legacy technology.

To level up and meet their requirements, more and more companies—9 out of 10 to be exact—are considering revamping their existing loyalty program strategy within the next three years. Revamping involves changes like adding gamification elements, shifting from points to tiers or adding a more diverse array of rewards. On top of that, more than 60% of companies are considering both revamping and replatforming. In other words, they are considering shaking up their tech stack by switching to another loyalty technology. These are desires born out of the aforementioned customer expectations but also out of financial considerations. Innovative platforms are equipped to support brands with time-saving API connections and no-code configuration to make the loyalty program faster and easier for marketers to manage. This gives marketers and loyalty professionals more time to plan campaigns and execute last-minute send-outs.

In closing, it’s clear that to overcome the challenges presented by the current economic landscape and constantly changing customer behavior, companies need to take action to stand out from the crowd and focus more and more resources on customer retention. Creating loyalty programs with solid foundations, actionable strategy steps and trackable KPIs will help you to stay in the competition.

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