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What Will The Future Of Loyalty Look Like?

Gone are the days when customer loyalty depended on a points system associated with a loyalty card. Digital has changed the game. 

According to experts, the future of loyalty will look very different than what marketers see now. Just how different? CMO.com reached out to some loyalty experts for their predictions. Here is what they said.

Farrell Hudzik, managing director of Accenture Interactive’s Global Loyalty and Rewards practice, told CMO.com:
I think that the end consumer, your end customers, are going to have more and more control over how they define loyalty, more so than the brands that they interact with. I think we’ll eventually get to a point where consumers say, “Look, I don't want to be tied to only one brand; I want to have an ecosystem of interaction. I want to be encouraged. I want to be able use my points when, how, and where I want to interact,” and I think that brands will start to engage in a model where they provide this ultimate flexibility of currency, while figuring out how to leverage data, how to be better at analytics, and how to maintain their brand presence within those consumers' lives by creating better and new ways to interact beyond the traditional kind of points-and-currency ecosystem.

Maor Sadra, managing director and CRO at AppLift, told CMO.com: 
First, I believe that the silos between mobile and desktop will fade out in the future. Second, persona-based marketing will become truly actionable if the perfect mix of ad technologies are set into place. Successful brands and retailers will build personalized content, stories, and incentives based on their CRM data. Loyalty marketing is all about providing value through a simple and engaging user experience, while showing to the customer that you understand them and that their voice is being heard.

Max Leletskyi, head of media acquisition at Global Digital Marketing Group, told CMO.com:
Influencer networks might take root in the market if they keep providing personalized value to customers. Loyalty programs will continue to grow more and more subtle, blending into day-to-day cooperation and interactions with customers, just like native ads blend into news articles.

Brandon Logsdon, CEO of Excentus, told CMO.com:
It’s an interesting space in the sense that it’s almost like a gold rush. Every retailer is running toward it, even retailers who have been holdouts for a long time. It’s evolved from a scenario where a subset of the market embraced and adopted loyalty in a meaningful way, and now we’re seeing a rising tide and mass proliferation of programs. Retailers will continue to invest in loyalty because of the data; they need data to know their customers. A lot of retailers are putting together the core block-and-tackling pieces, but they’ll also have to step back and make sure all the other things in the business are working, too. 

In the next five to seven years, you’ll see a lot of refactoring of loyalty programs. If a loyalty program is in place and no longer differentiating one retailer from another, retailers will have to rethink its construction and more deeply integrate it with the daily operations of the business. The solution might be better interaction at the point of sale, the next new technology, or a new app. Programs will continue to grow in number, but we’ll see a lot of refactoring or relaunching of existing programs. 

Ran Avrahamy, VP of marketing at AppsFlyer, told CMO.com: 
Loyalty is a huge topic, and we have yet to see the full impact on it as chatbots, AI, VR, mixed reality, and deeper data insights all have the potential to deliver new types of customer experiences, deeper loyalty programs, and more meaningful customer relationships at scale. That said, it’s important for marketers to build powerful programs on the channels that their customers are already on. Today and for the foreseeable future, this means mobile, which will continue to serve as the hub for technological innovations. People spend their lives glued to their mobile devices. Your loyalty program should be a part of this experience.

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