Sunday, June 21, 2009

Loyalty’s Changing – What’s Next?

According to a recent story in DMNews,
“Retailers are looking to get more from their loyalty systems because people will collect membership cards and shop at whatever store is most convenient, so [these programs are] not really building loyalty.”
Offers, points, discounts and rewards can be motivating. Until they become ubiquitous. When they’re everywhere – which one can argue is the case today – they become ineffective at best, and potentially counterproductive.

So, what works in this new age of frugality and points/rewards-based program saturation? What are today’s consumers looking for – besides a great price?

Featured at the recent Loyalty EXPO in Hollywood, Florida, SpeedPass by ExxonMobil is one of the examples of a brand that understands this shift and is gaining traction with consumers. No one would say that filling the gas tank is “fun” and everyone who drives has to do it on a regular basis. ExxonMobil came up with a secure way to speed up the process so drivers could get back on the road and onto the rest of their day faster.

Consumers with a SpeedPass fob on their key chains can pay for gas or convenience store merchandise simply by waving the fob in front of the scanner. That saves time – no digging around for cash or a payment card, no need to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. And SpeedPass is more secure than cash or cards – no card information or personal details are stored on the fob, so there are no financial or privacy concerns if the fob is lost or stolen.

The program provides real value to consumers, and the data on utilization, average transaction size, and gasoline market share shift bears that out. In addition to these quantifiable benefits, the fact that SpeedPass only works at Exxon and Mobil casts a halo back on those brands, particularly with millennial consumers who are more tech-inclined and more impatient that the rest of us.

It’s back to the basics of what makes experiences compelling in the first place. Things like service, opportunities for personal interaction or to learn something new, an escape from the daily routine, help in solving a problem, or features and functions that save time – these are meaningful to consumers. And they create stickiness – they engage consumers in ways that are enduring.

1 comment:

Carol Phillips said...

Another great post, Judy. I think you are right, loyalty has a broader meaning than points. Dunkin' Donuts just launched an iphone app for 'dunkin' runs' that helps people do something they are already doing better. That kind of usefulness will generate real loyalty.
Carol Phillips