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Loyalty programs have cemented themselves as a way to resonate with consumers — as long as they deliver services in the spaces shoppers are most active. A recent study conducted by 3C, an interactive mobile marketing agency, reviewed best practices by brand-loyalty programs that successfully capture consumers and also emerging technologies that will inform burgeoning features to become more prominent in the coming future.

In order to devise its conclusions, 3C surveyed 2,300 consumers and 580 brand marketers based in the U.S. during a four-day window in February.

The results depicted a landscape dictated by consumers who expect brands to proliferate in new platforms. Generally, loyalty programs grew in influence over purchases in the last year — up from 59 to 62 percent. But their expectations on venues for communication from loyalty programs has diversified.

In 2016, the report said shoppers wanted engagement through somewhat traditional mechanisms such as apps, direct mail, e-mail and SMS text messages. This year, the channel has expounded — the research found that consumers prefer messaging through a smattering of platforms, ranging from mobile wallets (18 percent) to push notifications (21 percent) and messaging apps (8 percent) in addition to the former strategies.

The sign-up systems continue to leave something to be desired, as well. According to the research, 62 percent of customers still believe that too much information is required to sign up for loyalty programs. “Customers cite too much information and inconvenient time as top barriers to loyalty sign-up,” authors of the report said. It’s not all bad news, though. “Sixty-six percent of customers say if the process was simplified, they’d sign up for loyalty programs,” said the report.

Mobile functionality ups the use frequency, the report found. “In 2016, less than half (48 percent) of brands expected a growth in program membership, while nearly two-thirds (64 percent) actually saw program growth,” researchers noted. In 2016, 34 percent of brands saw an increase in loyalty program members — in 2017, the number nearly doubled, landing at 64 percent.

By coming alongside consumers, brands are helping their customers navigate and discover the best deals, which were especially successful when deployed via mobile devices. The research found that 51 percent of brands used mobile to deliver offers to consumers in 2017 — a rise from 12 percent last year. “Rewards and offers were the top motivators for consumers to join a loyalty program, with the majority claiming these motivators led to more visits and purchases,” the report said.

For brands that are slow to adopt a loyalty program strategy, the report suggests taking a methodical approach. Authors of the report said: “Mobile-enabling your loyalty program can be achieved through a crawl, walk, run approach — limiting the amount of resources needed to implement. The best way to gauge customer interest is to pilot new functionality.”


More from WWD:

Chinese Mobile Wallets Capture More Consumers than U.S. Counterparts

As Consumers Upgrade, Device Purchases Resulting in Higher Annual Spends

U.S., China Consumers Lead Cross-Border Commerce

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