Engage stakeholders & local community
Maybe you only realise this obliquely, but the fact is that when it comes to building a business that lasts the test of time, loyalty and community go hand-in-hand. Loyalty in business is not a new concept — but in the age of entrepreneurship and startup culture, the sheer plethora of choices for solutions available to a customer means that loyalty will be your edge when it comes to driving conversions and reducing customer churn.
Even something as seemingly innocuous as email personalisation can inspire loyalty in a customer. According to research by Accenture, businesses with Loyalty Programs generate 12-18 per cent more revenue per year compared to businesses that don’t use them.
The key to harnessing the loyalty economy comes down to building connection. And nothing forges a connection better than community.
Why creating emotional engagement unlocks the power of loyalty
For a long while now, brands and businesses have been giving back to charities and sponsoring local non-for-profits as a way to contribute to the wider community. Sponsorships and charitable donations boost brand recognition and visibility, so there’s a clear incentive for businesses to participate.
Today, the landscape has shifted — but not by much. The rise of movements like sustainable fashion or conscious capitalism tell us that consumers are looking for businesses to go beyond just transactional engagement.
They’re looking for the human element.
Which means that businesses are now asking the question, “How do we deepen relationships with our customers and communities?
The answer may surprise you.
According to research by Motista, loyalty is strongest when supported by an emotional connection. Customers typically spend twice as much with brands they’re loyal to and they also have a 300 per cent higher lifetime value than non-emotionally-engaged customers.
That’s true of other stakeholders like employees as well.
There are many ways, of course, to deepen the level of emotional engagement that a business has with its stakeholders, and one of the most impactful is building community relationships.
Engaging stakeholders through technology & data
When Loyalty Programs first arrived on the scene, they were manual and transactional. Reward points or Reward “miles” couldn’t be immediately tracked.
Today, of course, we know that the most active “redeemers” of a Loyalty Program are also its best advocates and most engaged customers. In a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, the better aligned the incentives and Rewards to shop, the more often customers would shop. But the more they shopped, the more frequently they would receive Rewards to continue their habits.
Loyalty Programs became sophisticated enough to be able personalise messages and tailor incentives to a customer’s preferences. But the opportunity they have today is far more lasting than this carrot-and-stick routine.
With more experience- and engagement-based Loyalty Platforms, we’re seeing a real shift from a boomer’s obsession with points accumulation to the consumer’s demand to support a brand that “makes a difference.”
If you’ve ever watched George Clooney’s Up in the Air, you’ll know this to be true. He’s a classic Rewards points hoarder.
But Gen Z, millennials, and even Gen X are more preoccupied with businesses that focus on giving back to their local communities (and even global causes):
- 79 per cent of external stakeholders (customers and employees) in these generational groups will engage with a brand if it helps them make a difference.
- There is already a sense of community and connection awareness within these generational groups — 61 per cent of individuals see themselves as global citizens
So, instead of collecting points like badges of honour, or opting for the same tiers of “Rewards,” these new customers and employees are looking for businesses that have Loyalty Programs to engage with them in more relevant, personalised, and meaningful ways. And this includes what companies are willing to do for their broader communities.
4 steps to building a Loyalty Program that will support community & engage stakeholders
Smart businesses know: If community support is a priority for their external stakeholders, it’s a priority for them as well. Fortunately, those very same technologies and data shifts driving growth in Loyalty Programs can help you build a truly aligned, streamlined solution for your own stakeholders.
Platforms like EonX’s Community Hub allows businesses to monetise relationships with their community, so there’s a mutually beneficial exchange between partners, customers or employees, and businesses. Community Hub is just one feature of the broader Rewards Marketplace, which very closely mimics the “regular” consumer-focused digital shopping experience.
Here’s how you can set up your own community-focused Loyalty Program and engage stakeholders like never before.
1. Identify local businesses that your customers or employees already visit
EonX’s Rewards Marketplace allows businesses to think strategically about who they’re forming partnerships with. Community Hub allows businesses to invite sponsors, affiliate partners, and other local businesses that then create ongoing associations within the community.
Once you’ve identified the local businesses your members, customers or employees are most keen to purchase from, it’s time to access Community Hub to create a catalogue of relevant offers.
Using the Admin role, users can showcase their own products and services as well as those of the businesses they’re partnering with. Customers or employees can conveniently use their Rewards for everyday spending, which simply gives back to the pre-established local business community.
2. Create a mutually beneficial relationship
Partners in business do have a long-term, mutually beneficial incentive to work together. But EonX’s Rewards Marketplace helps users take this a step further.
The Rewards Marketplace is specifically designed to allow businesses to make additional revenue on every purchase made by members, employees or customers. There is a guaranteed return on investment, which provides them the opportunity to offset MSF funds so that employees and customers do not have to pay any fees — furthering their EVP and CVP.
3. Make offerings relevant and automate updates
Taking care of your partnerships is one aspect. But another is to ensure your customer or employee truly resonate with the offers you create. Platforms like the Rewards Marketplace empower businesses to update their offerings in real-time for a truly omni-channel redemption experience.
That’s good news for businesses serving millennials and Gen Zs, since 68 per cent of these spenders (who already dominate the market in terms of sheer numbers) expect a multi-channel, seamless experience.
Community Hub’s dynamic catalogue comes with the flexibility and ease to create personalised offers from local merchants or your business’s own products and services. This means users will have an easier time updating their catalogue to reflect the desires of their members and customers and incorporating feedback when deciding which offers to feature next.
4. Incorporate non-for-profit initiatives
Why should banking Reward Programs be the only organisations to corner the “marketplace” on doing good with loyalty Rewards?
The National Australia Bank’s collaboration with Good2Give is helping customers channel their credit points through NAB Rewards into over 80 charities of their choice.
EonX’s Rewards Marketplace allows businesses to do the same without having to rely on a singular channel (in this case, NAB). Instead, businesses (users) can select charities that reflect their own values as well as allow their customers to give to causes that connect with their interests and generate goodwill for the business.