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3 Tips For Consumer Engagement In 2015

We are just about halfway through the first month of 2015 and key indicators have the economy trending in a positive direction.  Consumer spending is rising, as are employee wages.  The #1 challenge that retailers will face in 2015 is consumer engagement:
How do you get your customers to stay loyal to your brand and spend their money in your store, instead of spending it elsewhere? In the past, consumer loyalty was based on four basic motivators:
pricing, and
brand identity.  While these motivators  still exist today, they have changed in rank and are different for every individual consumer.  Social media platforms and mobile apps also play a huge role in how your consumers identify with your brand.  Knowing where, when, and how your customers interact is crucial to keeping consumers engaged.  Brands can use these tools to listen to every one of their consumers and tailor offers to their specific needs and keep them engaged with your brand. Here are a few tips to help your consumer engagement in 2015: 1.
Reward More Than Just Purchases Loyalty programs were primarily based around purchase behavior.  The trend today is to reward a consumers
action.  Is your consumer checking-in to your store or event on Facebook?  Are they reviewing products or reading content regarding your brand?  Rewarding these actions can keep consumers engaged while providing them with meaningful incentives tailored specifically for them. 2.
Identify Your Most Passionate Customers Knowing your customer is an integral key to serving them better.  Some consumers become very passionate fans of your brand. Rewarding behaviors beyond customer spend will also give you access to valuable customer data.  These consumers should be rewarded for their insight into your brand as they often become your most vocal advocates and dedicated ambassadors. 3.
Stand For Something Sometimes a company needs to focus on more than just making the best product or having the best service, consumers are also looking for an emotional connection with your brand.  A perfect example: Nike and their swoosh logo.  Many consumers buy Nike sneakers because they want to be connected to everything that the swoosh represents - it's long history and connection to the world's most popular athletes.  Emotional connections are the main drivers of engagement, advocacy, and brand loyalty.
Read more about consumer engagement for 2015 along with some great industry examples here!

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Attracting Millennials to Incentive Programs

LoyaltyOne recently took a deep dive into incentive programs and what exactly attracted millennials to them. Their study found that the majority, falling into a range of 18-29 years old, identified in-store experience as a top factor when it came to joining grocery-store reward programs. These in-store experiences also seem to go hand-in-hand with health and nutrition.

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Incentive Professionals Weigh in on the State of the Industry

Photo from IncentiveMag.com article,
13th Annual Incentive Industry Roundtable
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Striving for the Best Customer Engagement

We talk a lot about employee engagement, but today let’s focus our attention on customer engagement (and as you may know, customer engagement and employee engagement correlate with each other).  The best companies know that acquiring new customers and customer retention are key to real sustainable growth, no matter what industry your company is in.  Jobs follow customers. Without your customers there would be no company. Over the last 5 years, gaining and retaining customer has been difficult and the customer base has changed dramatically.  Customers are more cautious about spending and demanding more in return. Over the next 30 years, roughly
$140 trillion in new customer spending will be up for grabs! The best companies set out to win their customers over for life. They also understand that customer engagement is not something that happens overnight. Each encounter with a customer has a chance to strengthen and even undermine a customer/company relationship. Strong customer engagement creates customers that spend more, visit more, and promote your company, all while resisting competitors and forgiving mistakes. The economic landscape has improved over the last year and companies can make significant progress in growing their customer base. Last year the greatest percentage of customers were fully engaged based on global data analysis – more than at any other point in the last 5 years.  Companies should focus on optimizing every customer interaction, create emotional connections with their customer, and constantly measure customer engagement (a good method is surveying customers either online or in-store). With meaningful data, companies can easily spot positive trends to build on and eliminate negative issues before they become problematic. Want more insight into your customers?  Download the State of the American Consumer:
Insight for Business Leaders from Gallup, Inc.

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Starbucks: Mobile Payments Pioneer

Everyone's walked into (and presumably grabbed a coffee from) a Starbucks at least once. In many American cities you can't stand on a street corner without seeing that Mermaid logo somewhere in your 360 degree view. Starbucks has led the way in a lot of areas including employee compensation, employee training and consumer experience. Starbucks cares so much about consumer experience that they offer a full feedback loop with consumers and their app is so well designed that it has made them a (if not the) leader in mobile payments. The Starbucks app combines mobile payments and their loyalty program enables them to get consumers through the line faster, reward them for repeat purchases and streamline the consumers' checkout process. Starbucks is the mobile payments ideal, as it exists to enhance a consumers' experience at the point of sale. Setting aggressive goals to almost double their mobile payment transaction this year is what makes Starbucks an example for mobile payments across the board. Since consumers are so attached to their cell phones, bringing the check out process to their device is a great way to ensure the revenue potential skyrockets.
For more information on Howard Shultz' view on mobile payments head over to Bloomberg Businessweek.

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