Female store cell phone close-upLoyalty programs seem to be everywhere and every retailer seems to be trying to incentive you to sign up for one. Despite the increased awareness and activity around loyalty programs, very few merchants are fully taking advantage of all these programs can offer customers and marketers.

Successful loyalty programs will be easily accessible and provide a clear value exchange. Accessibility means allowing customers to earn, manage and redeem via their channel of choice.  And while that means providing mobile alternatives to key chain scan-tags, it also mean providing for easy look-up for customers who prefer to identify via a phone number or email address.

To demonstrate value, marketers need to understand that loyalty programs are emotionally driven, seize on this, and offer more than simple tracking of purchases to accrue rewards.  Savvy marketers realize that engaging customers and allowing them to promote the brand are also significant. Plus, they need to add further personalization. Of course, all of this needs to be tied into a larger marketing strategy.

Here are some tips to help you improve your loyalty program to build customer trust:

Don’t over personalize. While big data is certainly useful in establishing successful loyalty programs, assuming that you know your customers based on their spending history can be dangerous.

Give customers choice. Work with retailers and other service providers to offer a range of rewards, from a visit to the zoo with the family to cheaper gas or better interest rates on your savings accounts.

Make rewards instant. Today’s consumer is fickle. One way to keep them engaged is to offer instant rewards, such as cash back or discounts.

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