As markets the world over continue to bear the brunt of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, governments are having to balance the health and welfare of citizens against the very real need to keep key sectors open and do all they can to sustain ailing economies.
Experts within the retail space have long believed 2020 will be a significant year of development, with loyalty at the core of digital commerce. However, the year so far has placed the world in a position few could have ever predicted – the new normal characterised by social distancing, selective buying with limited choice and decisions almost entirely based on brand recognition and loyalty rewards.
This is according to leading independent customer relationship management company LoyaltyPlus which asserts that there has rarely has there been a time when businesses have to dig deep, fine-tune continuity strategies and bolster engagement with the customers.
The company points to seriously injured victims and fatalities that make up the commercial battlefield in the war against the silent but deadly pandemic. These include the aviation and tourism sectors, healthcare sectors that are under relentless pressure and retail, manufacturing, among many others.
In the case of aviation and airlines that have worked with- and are used to loyalty programmes, the current COVID-19 crisis is expected to force low-cost airlines to fast-track their loyalty offerings, will motivate airlines to intensify their investment in the use and management of data and those airlines that have largely neglected loyalty programmes will have to cushion an unavoidable a hard landing by considering existing ready to go technology such as LoyaltyPlus.
The company leans on over 25 years’ experience in the development and application of cutting-edge programmes and partnerships – and its leadership in helping businesses ensure their customers remain loyal to their brands while optimising all touchpoints and customer experiences.
Enhanced customer experience means dealing more decisively with data by leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI), strategic integration of data, and being aware of (and exploiting) changing data privacy laws.
LoyaltyPlus believes one of the main aspects to emerge from this global health crisis is that loyalty programs will evolve to match a very difference trading environment.
Businesses will elevate loyalty programmes from being primarily transactional and one dimensional in benefit, to something that escalates the customer relationship, that truly benefits and rewards loyalty-driven transaction and engagement.
As the world moves its general focus from opulence, greed and surplus stock, to sustainability and wellbeing amid market lockdown and serious pressure on health and wellbeing of citizens, loyalty programmes will come into their own and prove to be a game-changer.
LoyaltyPlus echoes the sentiment expressed by seasoned global retailers and feel that the loyalty programme will begin to foster a multi-dimensional experience, fuelled by social media and interaction dominated now by digital to facilitate distance.
The loyalty programme must drive immediate benefit to the consumer, it has to be relevant and add obvious and real value to the end customer. These are what will carry a programme and the company through the current ‘storm’.
There is no doubt that the new normal will be a test for the true value and longevity of loyalty programmes and it could be a catalyst for an industry shake up – one that is arguably long overdue.