Loyalty Programs Open the Door to Omnichannel Success
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Loyalty Programs Open the Door to Omnichannel Success

Michael Snyder, Senior Solutions Consultant CX & Loyalty
Michael Snyder, Senior Solutions Consultant CX & Loyalty, Comarch

Progressive Grocer: Why is having a comprehensive ecommerce program so important for grocery retailers today? Can they successfully compete without a unified, omnichannel experience for customers?

Michael Snyder: I’d say that giants like Whole Foods and Walmart have really accelerated the technology threshold of the grocery market. We also see subscription-based solutions from Costco or BJ’s impacting the market as well. If grocery retailers want to compete, they’ll need to offer the same level of advancement. They’ll need a unified omnichannel experience for customers.

Customers are now shopping in more ways than one. They’re ordering groceries online for in-store pickup or delivery — and having an easy-to-use ecommerce environment is critical to success in that ecosystem. In-store shoppers want a mobile app or portal that offers an easy path to their coupons and savings. No one wants to cut coupons anymore, it’s all about simplicity. Customers can manage their rewards, spend points for discounts, scan items in their cart, utilize in-store maps to find their items, and avoid pharmacy pickup and deli lines. Retailers need to offer these features and make sure they work seamlessly in order to elevate the shopping experience beyond what their competitors offer and keep customers coming back to their stores.

PG: Discuss the role a personalized loyalty program plays in the overall omnichannel journey — before, during, and after purchase.

MS: Grocery customers make way more purchases in comparison to customers in other industries. This means that grocers have access to a massive amount of data that can be used to understand purchasing behaviors and map out the entire customer lifecycle. Through this information, retailers can send more personalized messaging, ads, and even discounts to their customers, which can help inform their purchasing behavior before the buying process even begins.

Retailers can even use non-member data to see which product groups are best to discount in their loyalty program, which can encourage customers to enroll in and use the program.

While they’re in the store, customers can use their app/ portal to apply coupons and discounts, keep track of their shopping list, and more. After the purchase is completed, customers receive bonus incentives based on their purchase behavior along with personalized messaging and gamification elements like tiers, contests, and referrals to keep them invested in the program.

PG: Creating an ecommerce program that includes a robust loyalty program is one thing; measuring its performance is another. Are there ways retailers can see their return on investment? If so, how can they calculate and interpret the loyalty program ROI?

MS: Increasing the amount of data collection is the best way to measure and improve a program’s performance. As I said earlier, grocery customers are interacting so frequently that retailers have a handful of ways to gauge their investment. Comparing coupon usage by non-members to that of loyalty members is one way. Looking at the recency, frequency, and monetary spend of members versus non-members is another. And of course, retailers can always analyze customer churn scores throughout the lifecycle of their program interactions to calculate and interpret ROI.

Interpreting this data should come from campaign and promotions reporting. This can be used to adjust and improve future iterations — whether that’s adjusting cross and upselling products or introducing new elements like gamification/challenges into the mix.


PG: How can Comarch help grocery retailers build a loyalty program that will enhance their overall omnichannel strategy?

MS: Comarch’s platform gives customers more ways to interact and connect with grocery retailers. It empowers an omnichannel loyalty strategy through custom mobile apps and web portals. Customers can experience campaigns through email, SMS, and push, with the ability to reward customers for specific products purchased. Plus, pre-ordering functions, gamification challenges, and tier systems keep customers emotionally invested beyond the purchase. We also offer built-in coupon creators, rewards catalogs, product promotions/discounts, and more.

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