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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : August 24, 2016

Report: Best practices for loyalty programs

New data out from RSR Research underlines the importance of gift cards - both physical cards and digital - for retailers and brands. The Digital Gift Cards In 2016: Where Omni-Channel Strategy Meets Customer Expectations outlines which brands are exceeding expectations and how all brands can improve.

by Kristina Knight

First, the improvement. According to the report, the ratio of experience to card purchase is 2:1, so for every two customer visits, a gift card is purchased. The data also shows that mobile is a fast-growing channel for gift cards, with more consumers buying and redeeming gift cards on mobile. This means brands need gift cards and checkouts to be mobile ready.

"Consumers are increasingly engaging with retailers through digital channels first, creating a demand for the retailer to be where the customer is," said Nikki Baird, managing partner at RSR Research. "Retailers need the capabilities to handle all the things a customer wants from them when they are online and on mobile, and that includes gift cards. We've learned over the years just how complex digital gifting is on the desktop. This year leaders excelled at mobile. However to many of those evaluated are continuing to struggle with mobile optimization of their programs."

Other interesting findings from the report include:

• Sephora ranked highest with a 55 out of 66 scale, Starbucks, Home Depot and Dunkin' Donuts followed
• 81 of the 100 merchants evaluated offered digital gift cards
• While consumers are mobile ready, merchants are not

RSR's experts found that sites were optimized for mobile selling, but not mobile gifting. They also found that two merchants sent customers interested in mobile gift cards to a site for promotions, and no way to buy the gift card.

RSR Research offers these three tips for better loyalty programming:

• Make it simple to find and use gift cards on all digital sites
• Make the mobile experience comparable to the online experience
• Make it possible to re-load cards and to personalize them
• Use gift cards as incentives for signing up for promotions like buy one/get one sales or even warranties

Full details from the study can be found here.

Tags: loyalty marketing, loyalty program trends, rewards marketing, RSR Research

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