Choice has become such a buzz word and so very ingrained in our vocabulary: good choice, bad choice, too much choice, no choice… whatever we connect it with, choice is everywhere not just in our language but also in our lives. It is said that we make around 35,000 conscious and subconscious choices and decisions every single day! We take for granted having so many choices in life, but when we have no choice in a matter then we remark upon its absence in a negative way.
This is exactly how many members of loyalty programs feel today. We should not forget that each program member is also a consumer who is offered a seemingly unlimited choice in their everyday life to conveniently decide with one click what to get, do, or experience. Unfortunately, the reality that this same consumer is confronted with by their loyalty program is often a very different one. In fact, many members today simply forget that they are indeed part of a specific loyalty program, because the possibility to interact with it in a beneficial way for them is just not appealing. As a consequence, the program and with it all the effort and work your business puts into it becomes less effective or enticing. But what if I promise you now, that by adding choices, you can completely turn this around?
So, let’s face the facts. Yes, it seems that the “buy x, get y” traditional cards available benefit your customers, but is it really cutting it for most of them? Asking 100 members of your program what they actually would like to do with their points can give you just as many answers. So how can you actually satisfy your customers that have the same expectation to achieve with your points what they would be able to get in their everyday life with cash? The answer is by offering more choices in your loyalty plan. Something that is very hard to change quickly with your traditional loyalty cards.
First of all, it is important to offer a diversified and compelling range of rewards for your program. This can be challenging, but is absolutely possible. By moving to a digital loyalty plan like the LYLTY app, your options for rewarding your customers can be greatly enhanced.
One aspect is to deliver the best possible experience for your member in your reward program. Think of buying a Louis VuittonTM bag in duty free while rushing to catch your next flight, or, shopping for it in the flagship store on the Champs-Elysee after strolling the streets of Paris with your family. While the price quite possibly is the same or maybe even less in duty free, the added value one associates with the service and environment of the actual purchase, is literally priceless. By adding experiences to your program, customers will then be happy to invest that little extra, if necessary, for a truly unique and special experience that they can enjoy.
Furthermore, statistics show that a customer today is ready to accept a lower cost per point in exchange for receiving more choice and convenience. So go beyond the traditional redemption options and provide your consumer with a greater range of choices.
Give them access with their points to redeem on experiences as well as more than just a single item. By letting your customers build points towards multiple rewards, not only do you have an engaged and loyal program member, they will also interact (spend!) with you more often.
In summary, offering choice, on the one hand, increases the experience or qualitative element towards your members, as it adds value, improves the perception of your program and results in more member interaction, engagement and satisfaction. On the other hand, it has a significant quantitative impact on your program. This offered choice provides you with the strategic leverage to manage your redemption cost and the entirety of your program in a smart and beneficial way that leads to a reduction of customer churn, and persists long term.
Are you convinced you have made the right choice for your loyalty program yet?
At LYLTY we passionately believe in offering choice, and providing you and your customers with more choices to make smart and lasting decisions that increase benefit and value on both sides. If you are interested to see how you can provide more choice and better cost management to your loyalty program, come talk to us. We are happy to help you.
Many brick and mortar retailers both here in New Zealand and elsewhere, love to complain that online retailers such as Amazon are killing them.
Yes, online is affecting all of us, but you can minimize online retail from eating your lunch if you are proactive and up for the fight.
Here Are 8 Ways You Can Stop Online Sales From Eating Away Your Local New Zealand Brick and Mortar Retail Business:
1. Do a better job with those in your store.
The soft skills of engaging a stranger are not in as many employees’ toolkits these days. A lot of employees may think they are doing a great job, but from the shopper’s perspective they aren’t. That’s why you have to know your customer journey, what you want shoppers to feel when they first walk in, and what employees should choose to say to them after they buy. You must have a relentless focus to be curious about, to understand, and yes…to sell your shopper if you want to keep them from jumping online.
2. Have more employees on the floor.
One of the biggest reasons people jump on their phones is to find information. The fewer employees you have, the more shoppers will grow impatient. Don’t give them a reason to go online! If they do, have your employees well trained and able to poke holes in online retailers’ claims about the same product. Make sure they’re able to compare and contrast offers and models and that they can show what the shopper gets right now compared to waiting.
3. Provide services.
Yes, events are fun but oftentimes not worth the expense. Think different. Think bigger. Add services that add to shopper convenience but can’t be easily price-shopped online. What would shoppers pay for that makes their lives easier? How about adding styling services in partnership with a local salon? How about offering assembly or moving services? Collaborating with other service providers behind the scenes will allow you to be a true one-stop shop.
4. Have your own online store.
You do need a way for your customers to buy from you 24/7. No, I still believe you can’t compete with Amazon, who are responsible for 55% of searches online…they’re basically a search engine connected to a warehouse. But, your customers are expecting to buy from those they trust - when they want, where they want, and how they want. Start your online store with your top 25 items then expand to your top 50-100. Make sure to mention your site to everyone. With platforms such as Shopify, it’s not as hard as you think to get started quickly, and without a huge investment.
5. Connect your website to your POS.
The big boxes have done this for awhile. There are many ways savvy merchants are using new technologies to allow shoppers to buy from them directly, either through drop ship from manufacturers or by offering the ability to pickup in your store within a few hours. This can be a real time-saver for stressed out shoppers trying to cram all their errands and shopping into a Saturday morning. Again, it’s about convenience and giving the customer what they want.
6. Find new markets.
How many times do you go back to the same customer with the same offers? Say you’re a bike shop and you had a successful charity ride last year, so you send out the same invitation to join this year. Instead, go to a new charity to expose your business to a new market. Go to your online competitors’ sites and see what organizations they support to see which could be a good fit for you.
7. Reach new (but similar…) customers.
Take note, this is a game-changer! What if you could find people online who are just like your customers and market to them? Here’s how. Take all of your customer emails – you do have those right? Organize them into a spreadsheet. Create a Custom Audience on Facebook then upload your list to the Facebook Ad Manager. After you have created that custom audience, create another Custom Audience but choose the option Lookalike Audience. These are people Facebook believes are like those who purchased from you. Filter down your custom audience to your local post codes or towns. Next install the Facebook tracking pixel on your site, create ads that feature your best items and services, and analyze your results. Find out more here.
8. Broadcast in real time.
What if your shoppers could see what you just got in instead of having to wait for someone else’s website to show them? Resale stores are wising up to the opportunity to beat online retailers by holding merchandise shows using Facebook’s live streaming feature. A bonus is this gives your younger employees a chance to partner in your success and show their personalities.
To Sum It Up
Online retailers push you to excel. The only constant in business is change. Change or die. But, don’t try and compete on price alone - do that and you have already lost, there is no way you can compete on just price against Amazon etc. If you do, it just becomes a race to the bottom. Remember, price is what you pay, value is what you get. Focus on offering more value to your customers, by doing things that the big online guys can’t do...
If you are up for the challenge, you need more people-trained employees on the floor. You need to add more services, have more integration between your own online and brick and mortar store, and hold a winning attitude in the face of it all. Focus on the people – who you allow on your floor, how well they are trained in the soft selling skills, and how engaged they are with your shoppers first.
Then use technology to focus on the customer – both in your store and online by providing an exceptional experience every time.
Do that and you will win!
GDPR - Must comply, must comply...(said in robotic tone)
Hey all, here's a quick post to bring us up to date with the latest from the EEA.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has taken effect from 25 May 2018. The GDPR is a standardized user data protection framework which operates across Europe and imposes obligations on organizations, like LYLTY Ltd, that handle the personal data of people in the European Economic Area.
This post briefly explains what LYLTY is doing to work towards GDPR compliance.
Second, since we use some third-party suppliers (e.g. Amazon Web Services) to make LYLTY available, we are reviewing and negotiating these contracts with a view to ensuring that they comply with applicable laws, including GDPR. Where amendments to these agreements are required we are entering into Data Processing Agreements with our suppliers.
Third, we recognize that protection of your data involves us so we are improving our internal controls around employee access to data and data security.
None of these steps are likely to impact the way you use the app day to day – you and all our many users will remain free to use the app at any listed location!
For support on anything related to GDPR, including how to access, inspect, update and remove your personal information with respect to LYLTY Ltd, please email us at email@example.com.
Whether you’re looking for a hot yoga class or a hot new restaurant, daily deals sites have become consumers’ go-to sources for deeply discounted prices and special packages. With these deals, businesses can appeal to a fresh audience, and consumers get a new experience at a great value. A win-win.
But who’s using these sites? And should your business give it a go?
Forty-eight percent of consumers have used a daily deal site like GrabOne, Groupon or LivingSocial, according to a recent survey. Within that group millennials, xennials, and Gen Xers are more likely to have tried one of these sites than people in higher income brackets.
If you’re considering a daily deal site to market your business, the fact that more users than not have purchased deals to try a new place is promising news. Even better, the coveted millennial, xennial, and Gen Z demographics are more likely to have purchased a deal to try out a new place than people in higher income brackets.
Using the daily deal sites more than once or twice a year can get costly though. That’s why we combined the ability to run unlimited deals alongside your customer loyalty plan in the app - all for just our flat yearly fee. Bonus is, we don’t take any commission from the deals you run either, so it gives you a great opportunity to plan out your promotions throughout the entire year.
The survey found that 78 percent of respondents think offering a deal through something like GrabOne has a positive effect on their perception of the business. Said one respondent:
“GrabOne helps businesses get noticed, and when they are noticed, you gain a relationship with them. This makes it easier to go back again for goods and services.”
However, this positive response doesn’t mean that you should get overzealous with posting offers on deal sites, or you could look desperate. Here’s how another respondent perceives businesses on daily deals sites:
“It can go either way. It can mean they are new and trying to get business or they are established but have lost business because they have gone downhill. If they are always on there it tells me the everyday prices are overpriced.”
So, you must be strategic about when and how you offer deals to ensure that consumers get a favorable impression of your business. If consumers see you post deals frequently, they won’t feel a sense of urgency about purchasing because they might assume they can buy it anytime. Worse, posting too often might also dissuade people from buying because they might get the impression that your products and services are too expensive or low quality.
Make a strong impression with your first deal by offering a discount or package that is appealing enough to get new customers in the door. You’ll want to cater your offering to appeal to your ideal new customer and to compete against similar businesses. You’ll also want to take into account seasonality; if it’s Valentine’s Day and you run a restaurant or a salon, you’ll want to make the deal really special to stand out.
Of the people who’ve bought daily deals, only eight percent said that they’ve never gone back, while 18 percent said that they return extremely often. So, once a customer has purchased your deal, you need to make sure that your interactions before and during the initial visit leave a good impression. That’s where running your deals on the LYLTY app makes a lot of sense. Entice new customers in with a great deal, and then get them onto your loyalty plan. All within the app, easy.
When people call to make an appointment or reservation and reference the offer, make sure you have a process in place that makes using the offer simple and easy (this is a common complaint about using daily deals). Make a note that they are new customers to ensure they have a positive impression of your business. If you have the resources, offer a little gift or freebie to make the experience extra special — whether that’s sample products from your salon or a complimentary biscotti or mini muffin to go their coffee.
Once you’ve run your first daily deal, do some analysis to determine its impact on your business. Questions you might ask include:
With our regular reports, you are able to track who used a deal, and became a regular customer afterwards. This will help you better evaluate the success of programs like this so you can decide whether or not to run deals at your location more often.
Recently, Facebook announced a big update to the way the newsfeed, and in particular, the way business pages' posts can get seen in the newsfeed. Some people have been losing their minds over this!
Why? Did you expect that the worlds biggest advertising platform was going to stay free, or very very low cost for ever? No, that is not possible. More than ever, it’s going to be pay to play.
What should you do about it… Let’s see in more detail here:
On January 11th, Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be changing its news feed algorithm to prioritize content from “friends, family and groups.”
“As we roll this out,” Zuckerberg wrote, “You’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard—it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.”
Zuckerberg cites “a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being” as justification for the change, admitting that businesses are going to have to work harder than ever to gain their customers’ attention on the platform.
As the changes roll out over the next few months, businesses will most likely see a significant decrease in organic reach (which for organic reach is already only at 2% of your pages audience!). This means news feeds will likely start to show more pictures of your uncle’s dog and fewer stories from Stuff.co.nz, and your businesses page.
While nobody knows exactly what the impact of the news feed changes will be, there are certainly ways for businesses on Facebook to work with the new algorithm and continue reaching their customers through “meaningful interactions.”
But, PLEASE don’t fall into the “engagement-bait” trap...
It might be tempting to try and hack the new algorithm by asking your audience to “COMMENT on this post if you like ice cream!!” or something like that. But, don’t be that business. It’s spammy and users don’t like it.
Plus, Facebook says, “Using ‘engagement-bait’ to goad people into commenting on posts is not a meaningful interaction, and we will continue to demote these posts in News Feed.” That basically means don’t publish posts that explicitly ask users to like, comment, or share the post. Your intention to grow your audience by doing that, will actually have the opposite effect!
This is where LYLTY can help you beat the algorithm, big time!
By using our bonus feature share function within the app when customers make a purchase - they are able to share their visit to your business by ‘checking in’ on Facebook to your page, and can add a pic of their purchase, the view from your cafe, their nails done, whatever - this is a ‘meaningful interaction’ Plus, as it comes from users and not a business, the check in is much more likely to be shown to friends on Facebook than a paid boosted post from you…
The other benefit of embracing this feature is that Facebook automatically prompts users to review places they’ve recently checked in to over the past 24 to 48 hours. So, this can be a great way to build up more positive reviews online, with LYLTY & Facebook doing the heavy lifting for you!
One more little nugget for you to keep in mind, this bonus share feature costs you nothing extra. We have synced in with Facebook for customers to be able to share from the app, automatically. All you have to do is say YES, we’d like to run the social share bonus feature!
The only ‘cost’ is that for each visit a customer shares to Facebook, they earn 1 bonus point.
When you consider the cost of boosting just one post on Facebook - and these new algorithm changes - giving away just 1 point to get your customers to share for you is a pretty sweet deal.
The customer can only share after their transaction has been validated in the app - so don’t worry, no one is sitting there just checking in to your business and earning all of their points without purchasing anything!
The point is, users will be more likely to see your Facebook posts if customers are engaging with your page, and commenting on it. That’s the best content of all for your business - user generated content!
It’s your Birthday? Then FREE DRINKS for everyone!
Not so much… Read on.
If you’re in the bar/restaurant trade, then how many times did you hear the following cringe-worthy words over the weekend: “Hey, it’s my birthday. l should get a free drink!” (What did you say in response?) Let’s talk about the best answer you can give to that question.
The Bar Conundrum
The interesting thing about bars is that people always feel that they should get free rewards on their birthdays. Yes, this happens in restaurants too, but in a restaurant you can limit your losses with some chips or some free cake, but the birthday boy or girl still has to pay for an entree and a drink. Plus, no one goes “restaurant-hopping.” At a bar though, all you can offer is a drink–and giving away your only revenue source for free is a bad business idea.
Here’s the trouble though: You can’t really say no without sounding like a dick.
What Is a Bar Owner to Do?
Here’s the first thing you do: Convince the birthday girl/boy that free drinks are lame and she/he can get that from any bar. You have something better.
What do you have? A customer loyalty program (the LYLTY app, of course!).
Okay, okay. Don’t use that sales pitch. It’s terrible.
Instead, pull out a list of birthday options that are exclusive to your loyalty app members.
Experiential Rewards Pay Off
Here’s the little-known secret to consumer loyalty programs: you’re supposed to use them to build revenue, not give revenue away!
The best way to do this is to have your customers build points on their loyalty app (we recommend an app over a card!), and then redeem those points for cool events that get them into your bar to buy more drinks.
For instance, your regulars could use their points to rent a private party room at a discount (which would bring more people into your bar), or you could offer your loyalty club members exclusive member benefit classes where they learn how to mix their own drinks.
Make Them Feel Like Insiders
Another idea for experiential rewards is to give your regulars a “backstage pass” to your business. If you have a brewery, you can provide a tour in which you explain how to make beer, and show them the different stages. That type of customer loyalty program reward would generate a ton of buzz for your bar.
The point is, whatever your bar focuses on, there’s usually an off-limits area. When you provide supervised access to your off-limits areas, your customers get excited and talk about your bar more–and then their increased sense of ownership brings them back to your bar again and again.
The important thing to remember about your customer loyalty program is that it is meant to enhance your power as a business, and to increase your marketing reach. It’s not meant to be a free drink giveaway, and it certainly isn’t meant to be a revenue drain.
Finally, we’ve said this before, but: If you’re wondering what experiences your customers would like, then just ask them! Your customers are your greatest marketing resource. Use their ideas to become exactly the bar they’ve always dreamed of going to. Your business will flourish, your customers will love you, and you won’t ever have to cringe again when someone says, “Hey, it’s my birthday. I should get a free drink!” You’ll know exactly what to offer them instead.
A big welcome to the new year. We hope you’ve all had a chance for a little break, a time to recharge and get excited about the year ahead! We put down some thoughts about the year ahead for all of us in retail.
The big trend we see is that retailers are finally realising that they must change. For many years, leaders of the retail industry were averse to change – they wanted everything to be smooth and as long as they beat “last year,” they were happy.
This is no longer possible.
In the past, it was the retailer who determined what a customer should want to buy and how they should shop. Today, it’s the customer who is defining (redefining) the shopping experience. A retailer is missing opportunities for sales when it operates in the traditional ways that kept merchandise categories and selling channels separate rather than co-ordinated.
The acceptance of omni-channel trade and digital savvy merchandising is important. Today it is a requirement for success. However, it is not only acceptance of new ideas, but we also see the need to review old systems and procedures. Store operations and mindsets must change.
Some have assumed that Amazon is going to kill the industry, that everything will be bought online. Well, as we have recently seen, it’s not that simple. Amazon is redefining itself as well. We’re not surprised that Amazon is opening some stores, and buying companies like Whole Foods to gain dominance. We do believe that they will be a strong player, but will not eliminate good competition.
2017 was the year of digital discovery. 2018 will be the year of technology and more integration of it into mainstream retail. It will be the year where we see retailers create new operating models that are less focused on their store vs. the web and more focused on creating experiences that gives customers more control and convenient ways to shop. I think it will be an exciting year where customers will find newness and creativity.
We’re excited to help you create a better experience for your customers with the LYLTY app.
Join us in 2018.
Any longtime customer service champion knows their job isn’t just about resolving problems; it’s about making customers happy.
We’ve all heard the one-off stories of legendary customer service: the time a Morton’s employee brought a steak to a customer at the airport, or when Sainsbury’s renamed a product at a young customer’s suggestion. But how do you make these unforgettable moments the norm rather than the exception?
Inspiring your customers to fall in love with your company requires more than grand gestures. It takes an ongoing investment of consistently great service. This can feel daunting, especially if you’re a small business with limited staff, but by incorporating a few core principles into your business model, customer happiness can be integrated into everything you do.
Here are some ideas from the most customer-centric companies on the planet — adapt them to your own customers for happy results!
1. Be human. Customers want to interact with human beings who are warm, friendly and helpful. In every aspect of your company — from email marketing to your help desk — approach people like you would approach neighbors (warmly but respectfully). By creating a human experience, you can spark meaningful relationships with current and future customers.
2. Always listen. Listening is an underrated skill. After all, don’t you hate being interrupted? There are a lot of ways to listen to customers, but the most important thing is to make sure they know you hear them.
During all interactions, mirror back the experiences of customers with understanding. Combined with social listening tools and feedback analysis, this empathetic approach can set off fireworks between you and your community.
3. Be transparent about changes, setbacks and breakthroughs. Every organization is going to hit blips and bumps that disrupt business. Whether it’s a snow day or a data leak, you’re more likely to recover if you get out in front of the problem. Always practice transparency. Share the problem and your concerns, along with any steps you’re taking to resolve the issue.
Don’t forget: Your community wants to hear about awesome breakthroughs, too. Exercise good judgment, and lean into these opportunities to build exciting relationships with a growing community.
4. Treat every customer like a VIP. Being a VIP has some real perks. More than any specific benefit, VIP status offers the warm-and-fuzzy that someone values and appreciates you. The good news is that you can give that to every customer, regardless of their budget or needs.
“Getting service right is more than just a nice to do; it’s a must do. Consumers are willing to spend more with companies that provide outstanding service — ultimately, great service can drive sales and customer loyalty.”
— Jim Bush, EVP American Express
Start by offering every customer your undivided attention, and personalize content so they’re always hearing a voice made just for them. You’ll create VIPs who will not only buy more, they’ll give you referral after referral.
5. Value consistency above all else. In the service industry, you’re only as good as the last meal you serve — and that’s true of any customer service business. It actually takes 12 positive experiences to offset one not-so-great interaction.
To hit the mark every time, companies need to empower employees with cohesive values, standards and guidelines for interacting with customers. The trick is to provide consistency in the level of service while still enabling team members to play to their strengths.
6. Love your employees. The quickest way to make customers fall head-over-heels for your company is to appreciate your employees. (Yes, you read that right!) Rodd Wagner shares this perfect formula in Forbes:
Happy employees = longer tenure = consistent training = employee expertise = happy customers
Employee happiness has a big impact on the long-term performance of a company. After all, no loyal customer wants to learn that their favorite employee had to leave for higher pay.
7. Trust your customers and clients. I learned working in retail that trust is always reciprocal. When customers didn’t meet the credit card minimum at the shop, the owner would let them take their purchase and come back with cash later. People were so struck with gratitude that they came back with the money — and then some! If you give your customers the benefit of the doubt, they’ll extend the same courtesy to you.
8. Apologize — and make it right. Saying sorry is always essential, but sorry isn’t always enough. Companies need to put that sentiment into action to make customers fall in love. First, fix the actual issue. Next, make up for the fact that there was a problem at all.
Empower happy customer service teams with the flexibility (and resources) to “wow” customers. With the right resources, they can make up for the problem with a meaningful gesture that more than matches the enormity of the mistake or hassle.
9. Offer regular rewards. “If you’re competitor-focused, you have to wait until there is a competitor doing something. Being customer-focused allows you to be more pioneering."
— Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon
Companies like Southwest Airlines, Patagonia and Nordstrom have distilled customer loyalty to an art form, creating real value with their offerings. They know that one-time incentives are fun, but you need to sustain that momentum over time to have a real impact. Invest in regular rewards, incentives or sales that people look forward to — adding them into your LYLTY listing is easy, just let us know.
10. Say ‘thank you’ again, and again, and again. Gratitude is a powerful emotion. Expressing it to customers builds positive feelings while humanizing your company in the eyes of the world.
So don’t sell yourself short — say thank you in every email and every interaction. Expressing gratitude this way also makes it more likely that someone (even a customer) will help you in the future. You’ll fall in love, too
These ten ways to make customers fall in love with your business are also fun for you. When you embrace happy customer service, you create the ideal environment for you and your team. What’s not to love?
With our recent addition of the ability for app users to earn a bonus point for sharing their purchases across social media, we wanted to write down why we think that it's a good idea for your business to utilise this feature. Grab a coffee and read on!
When Coca Cola brought out their personalized coke bottles, the world went crazy for them. Dubbed the “Share a Coke” campaign, it took off all over the world with bottles named after people in every different destination.
To keep momentum going, customers were asked to share pictures of themselves enjoying a drink with their personalized coke bottle on social media. The result? Coca Cola’s customers stepped into the role of advertiser.
This wasn’t just a one-off campaign, or a fancy fluke.
Instead, it is one of thousands of User Generated Content (UGC) campaigns that brought the business it promoted millions of revenue and a whole new image.
“The next wave of the Web is going to be user-generated content.” – John Doerr, Venture Capitalist.
But what exactly is User Generated Content?User Generated Content is defined as any type of content that has been created and put out there by unpaid contributors or, using a better term, fans. It can refer to pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, blog posts, and everything in between and is the act of users promoting a brand rather than the brand itself.
So, UGC sounds like another one of those marketing buzzwords, right? In fact, it isn’t a fad at all. It’s been burning brightly for a while (well, a while for the fast-paced world of the internet).
Let’s take it back to 2009 for a moment to Burberry’s Art of the Trench UGC campaign. Eight years ago, brands were adopting the idea of their fans promoting their business – because word-of-mouth referrals are the best kind of referrals, even in the digital age.
Burberry asked its loyal fans to upload pictures of themselves and their friends wearing the brand’s iconic trench coat. All Burberry had to do was curate the best submissions, which they showcased on a dedicated microsite and their Facebook page.
When you consider that 86% of millennials say that UGC is a good indicator of the quality of a brand, and that 68% of social media users between the ages of 18 and 24 take into account information shared on social media when they make a purchasing decision (eMarketer), it’s easy to see why UGC is so powerful.
Why UGC is So Successful (and Why You Shouldn’t Ignore it)Obviously, UGC campaigns have been a constant player in the marketing world because they are so successful (do I need to point you back to the Share a Coke campaign?).
But why are they so successful? Why are brands turning to their audiences to share their products instead of crafting their own ads?
Online users are become increasingly savvy in knowing which companies are using slimy marketing tactics, and which ones are being authentic and transparent. You don’t need me to tell you which ones are most successful.
Instead, they crave stories, they crave connection, and they crave interaction with other humans (a byproduct, perhaps, of the increasing amount of time we spend in front of a computer screen?).
In reality, we’ve been buying into UGC content for centuries, but there are now media platforms to make it more accessible across the globe. And, when you discover that a whopping 92% of people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content, it’s clear to see how far the trust between people and marketers has stretched.
Authenticity is so important in today’s online world. Customers are no longer the passive consumers led by TV commercials and billboards. Instead, they’re active choosers of their own fate and want a say in who they do and don’t buy from.
But how do they choose who to buy from? They opt for brands that have the same values as them, brands that they can connect with on a human level, and brands that “get them”.
It’s common knowledge that people like to feel a part of something. In a 1986 theory penned by MacMillon and Chavis, there were four things that encouraged people to feel like part of a community.
Shared emotional connection is pushed through UGC, too. MacMillon and Chavis stated that healthy communities have a story, and this is what brings them together.
This, obviously, is considerably cheaper than forking out thousands – or even millions – for prime-time TV commercials and Times Square billboards.
The beauty of UGC is that the users run the show, while marketers and business owners don’t have to empty their pockets on campaigns that may or may not perform well.
Take Starbucks’ White Cup Contest that took place back in 2014 as an example. Customers were encouraged to doodle all over their white Starbucks cups and post their images as entries for a competition to find a template for a limited edition Starbucks cup.
Nearly 4,000 customers submitted entries in just three weeks, showing that people were ready and willing to engage with the brand.
UGC vs Traditional MarketingConsumers are considerably less passive than they used to be when it comes to advertising. They’re now more active in the decisions they make, who they listen to, and who they choose to buy from and engage with.
These days, buying traditional ads both on external media and online is a competitive game (and, even if you pull out the big bucks, you still might not catch the attention of your customers).
Add that to the fact that consumers are actively choosing to bypass ads (take pay-to-play streaming platforms like Netflix and the rise of ad blockers) and are more likely to click through to a site if they see a friend recommend it, and you have a solid argument for UGC over traditional marketing.
UGC works as social proof, too. In a 2013 study, 79% of consumers admitted to trusting online reviews as much as in-person recommendations. That’s a huge metric.
Think for a moment about the ALS Association Ice Bucket Challenge. The charity challenge went viral for a few months, increasing awareness of the ALS Association (which not many people knew about beforehand) and bagging the company $100 million in donations. No small feat.
That’s another reason UGC is so important. In such a fast-paced, constantly-changing online landscape, content needs to be quick and on-trend. Instead of spending months and millions coming up with an advertising campaign that might be out of date by the time it finally airs, UGC allows brands to stay on the ball and stay current with their customers.
Brands can constantly be in touch with their audience, which means they stay at the forefront of minds.
The power of UGC is easy to see, and there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing much, much more of it in the coming years as brands tap into the power of their audiences and take a step back from pushy sales tactics.
The customer experience is key.
Your program should be easy to use and understand - customers shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to redeem rewards. Don’t create too many stipulations and rules because if your customer feels that it’s too difficult to earn points and achieve rewards, they’ll lose interest. We can help set up an enticing program for you to roll out.
Ask for feedback
Your loyalty program will allow you to track popular promotions and most desired rewards but if you’re not sure what appeals to your customers – ask them! A simple survey will allow you to gain important insight on products or services your customers value so you can offer rewards and VIP experiences that they want. Customers will appreciate the opportunity to be heard and feel like they’re contributing to a better program.
Provide easy access to your program rules and be consistent in providing communication with members when there are program changes or promotions. Make it easy for members to reach your team with questions about their loyalty account. Respond quickly and pleasantly to any dissatisfied customer comments and own your mistakes. We’re here to help you engage and keep your customers coming back.