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The best way to survive a recession? Loyal customers - here's how to retain them

August 11, 2022

For e-commerce brands today, the competition is fierce. With acquisition costs steadily on the rise — over 60% in the past six years — and privacy changes looming unsteadily over marketers’ heads, brands are forced to rethink their new business strategies and refocus their attention on their most valuable channel: existing loyal customers.

Focusing on customer loyalty future-proofs a business. By doubling down on retention experiences, like loyalty programs, brands can ensure that customers get more value out of each interaction on every channel — and that means getting value out of more than just transactions.

Loyalty programs provide experiences tailored to each customers’ preferences, making them the ideal way to deepen the connection between brand and consumer. According to Harvard Business Review, brands with strong loyalty marketing programs grow revenues 2.5x faster than their competitors. And, loyalty programs make the majority (60%) of global shoppers more loyal to a brand, according to Yotpo’s State of Brand Loyalty 2022 report.

So, it’s clear that it’s time to focus on a loyalty program. But, there are a few key questions to consider when evaluating a loyalty program vendor. Campaign and perk choices, loyalty liability, and program customizability are all essential factors in the decision-making process, but the most important consideration (and often the most overlooked), is loyalty program scalability.

It’s essential for brands to focus on partnering with a loyalty solution that scales with your growth. Investing in the right loyalty partner from the start — a partner with growth in mind — can prevent a brand from having to switch vendors, a costly, time-consuming process that causes more harm to your growing business in the long run.

The cost of switching

Loyalty is an evergreen channel that requires time and resources to build and develop. If your brand chooses to overlook a potential vendor’s ability to scale, you may find your brand running into a wall.

Without expert guidance from your provider, you might end up offering shoppers more than you can afford. Or, you could create a program that doesn’t drive any new, desirable customer behaviors beyond the transactional. These situations leave you with the cumbersome task of having to switch providers.

While switching from one loyalty solution to another isn’t impossible, it will require time spent course-correcting and re-evaluating program design, structure, and targets — tasks that aren’t just completed with the click of a button.

Switching to a new partner also means taking time to vet vendors and gather the necessary information to migrate customer data. It’s important to keep customers happy throughout the platform migration process, so you’ll need to make sure members’ points, VIP statutes, and other data can be used after re-launch.

What to look for in a scalable loyalty partner

When created with your business goals in mind, a strategic loyalty program drives incremental revenue growth and continually motivates high-value customer behaviors, like making purchases, engaging on additional channels, and referring friends. Invest in a loyalty partner equipped with the flexibility, agility, and scalability to help you reach your goals from the start.

As you evaluate loyalty vendors, consider:

1.) Is this vendor willing to build a strategic partnership with my brand?

Your loyalty provider should act as a partner, not just a solution. Your provider’s team should have in-depth expertise for your exact industry and business model, so they can not only help you create an effective program, but can continue to optimize it with you.

2.) Does this loyalty solution allow for program customization and agility?

As your relationship with your customers and the state of the industry evolves, your brand’s loyalty program should be malleable and able to adapt accordingly.

Choose a loyalty provider that’s marketer-friendly, meaning it’s simple to design, launch, and optimize as the business grows without code, web development, or website redesign. Plus, you can test out strategies or launch new campaigns quickly and effectively — think a weekend-only offer or double-points campaign — without allocating more time and resources.

3.) Does the solution integrate with the rest of my tech stack?

Your loyalty partner should come equipped with a breadth of third-party tech integrations. These are essential in order to avoid creating disparate experiences for loyalty members — and to enable your brand to gain access to valuable, multi-channel data.

Whether you’re interacting with shoppers through email marketing, helpdesk software, SMS marketing, or subscription services, you can easily offer personalized loyalty experiences for your best customers on every channel when your tech stack is integrated.

4.) Will this solution offer me in-depth analytics and reporting for continued optimization?

Choose a loyalty partner that offers comprehensive, real-time data on your program. Using a loyalty performance dashboard, you can optimize your program strategically and effectively while also measuring exactly how the program has influenced different customers.

Yotpo Loyalty allows brands to set themselves up for success with tailored rewards campaigns, VIP programs, powerful segmentation, and marketing automation integrations. To learn more about Yotpo Loyalty, click here.