The Fourth Industrial Revolution has transformed end-customer expectations, putting pressure on brands to evolve their offerings.
Loyalty programmes are by no means exempt.
Clients are seeking fairness, flexibility and an offering that has lasting benefits as well as aspects of instant gratification.
They’re looking for a solution that deepens gamification and transcends it.
Here, Francois Uys, Head of Digital, Marketing and Communications at Sanlam Reality, outlines some of the top trends for the loyalty space in 2019 and 2020.
- Trend one: The ‘democratisation of loyalty’: Customers increasingly desire authenticity and recognition of their individual needs regardless of their assets. Younger customers especially would like to be rewarded in equal measures. This means some loyalty programmes are moving away from the traditional ‘tier’ systems to give all members equal access to the same rewards opportunities. The net result? People appreciate fairness and feel more valued across the board.
- Trend two: Turn a ‘bad behaviour’ on its head: Loyalty programmes can play a pivotal role in changing financial behaviour through persistent micro-empowerment. For example, over-spending is seen as a negative behaviour, yet commercialism encourages spending more than saving. If you add a loyalty credit card – like the Sanlam Money Saver Credit Card, for example – that seamlessly empowers you to save every time you spend, you’re encouraging micro-savings behaviour that makes better money management top of mind. This should help make saving a habit.
- Trend three: Strong brands are expected to unlock extra value for customers: If a loyalty programme is committed to improving the financial wellbeing of its members then it should be prepared to give back. Loyalty members are loyal to schemes that are loyal to them. For example, for every 2.5% of your Sanlam Money Saver credit card spend that you save, Sanlam will save 2.5% on your behalf. This is effectively a 100% return. This is quite contrary to the usual reality of loyalty credit cards, where 80% of members get less than 1% back.
- Trend four: People are seeking something more from loyalty programmes: A smoothie doesn’t necessarily always cut it; people want deeper, longer-term benefits, including financial empowerment. Plus, the usual instant-happiness inducers! It’s about instant gratification that leads to longer-term benefits. Innovations that remove barriers to desired financial behaviours by making savings simple and top of mind will go a long way in winning customer loyalty.
“Sanlam Reality is continuously adapting our offering to align with members’ shifting needs and expectations. Given this, we introduced our Money Saver Credit Card to give back and micro-empower our members through a simple mechanism to save each time they spend,” says Uys.
“This creates a longer-term benefit which makes saving top-of-mind, with the aim of subtly changing financial behaviour for the better. Ideally, a member takes the cash-back they receive from the Money Saver card and transfers this to a high-interest savings vehicle to really maximise the benefit.”