Time for mid-size retailers to play their loyalty cards right

The Debate

It is good to see large retailers such as Debenhams offering their customers the ability to collect points and gain special services (Customer loyalty feature, Data Strategy, MW last week).

But loyalty isn’t just for the larger retailers; in fact, I’d suggest that mid-sized retailers are better positioned to maximise such initiatives: they are often more service-focused, either by virtue of being specialists, or by the nature of their offering.

Loyalty programmes give retailers a complete view of customer spending, helping them to cross-sell and upsell, as well as improve engagement and ’stickiness’. It’s a win-win situation and improves brand experience on a number of different levels. Significantly, they offer mid-sized retailers a way to differentiate themselves from larger rivals.

So, what’s stopped mid-sized retailers adopting loyalty schemes? One of the major factors is the perceived upfront costs and complexity of putting such systems in place. But there are now many ’software as a service’ models, where retailers can ’pay as you go’ based on the number of customer records being managed. Given this and the current economic climate, this is a good time to look at loyalty.

Allan DaviesCMO, Aldata Group

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