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Building a new kind of loyalty – Social Loyalty

It’s hard to go anywhere online without seeing social media icons, “likes” or stories about how Facebook is being used to enhance retailer loyalty…”social loyalty”. Building social media pages, vying for your “likes” and offering targeted promotions…but then what? What does it really mean to retailers for consumers to “like” something in this way? And what does it mean for prepaid and gift cards? So, I go to one of my favorite sources for marketing research, and information, Mashable and I am instantly tied in with my friends who share the same favorite source. Let’s put this scenario
into a retail ecommerce setting … I’m researching new mobile phones and selected the phone I’m interested in; I could see who my friends are that have “liked” the Droid on Facebook. This is likely to influence my opinion of the product. The bigger picture shows a snapshot of ecommerce transactions excelling exponentially. Last week Adweek published: “Data Shows Real-World Results for Facebook 'Likes', One new fan for a retailer produces 20 website visits”. This is great news for retailers (our clients), but it’s great news for the prepaid industry and its gift card component as well. GCP’s end customers (B2B or bulk buys of gift cards) benefit as well, as the recipients of the gift cards have new ways of engaging with the card brands they are holding.  

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New Research Reveals Cards Drive Increased Spending, Visits and Willingness to Support Social Marketing

It isn’t new for us to hear that prepaid cards are great motivators and incentives. But a new loyalty and prepaid survey reveals just how much prepaid has affected consumer spending habits and long term adoption when used in the B2B space as incentives. Here, we outline some of the most interesting tidbits and pair them with our market observations and viewpoints. Let us know your thoughts via the comments field. “Prepaid cards are proving to be effective at motivating customers and employees to share positive feedback with their peers and social networks, among other behaviors.” Social media is proving to be a great way for customers to “Like” their favorite brands and retailers. In return, brands are using gift cards to reward this kind of loyalty and it starts becoming a way to attract new customers. We are also finding that prepaid and gift cards are offered over social media networks as part of workplace reward programs like nominating coworkers or teams for special accomplishments, redeeming “on-the-spot” rewards, and recognizing managers for good work and achievements. On spending patterns; these study points speak for themselves: • For consumers who had received a card as part of a contest or drawing, 43% ended up spending more than the value of the card. • 28% of consumers with incomes of $100,000 or more said they would be willing to make a purchase of three times the value of a $25 card. • While only 33% of respondents indicated they preferred a prepaid card instead of a check when receiving a rebate, that number climbed to more than 40% among consumers who had already received and used a prepaid card as part of an incentive or rebate offer. Stated simply, the more cards consumers receive, the more they want, as there was a direct relationship between experience with prepaid and preference towards the cards. “Although some consumers may be receiving prepaid cards as an incentive for the first time, the survey showed that most are quick to cash in on the value of the card, as 7 in 10 used the card within three months.” At GCP, we’re seeing a shift in thinking about breakage. At one time, breakage was seen as a positive thing, however, we now look at it as a missed opportunity to gain happy customers, brand loyalty and the increased sales beyond the denomination of the gift card. The report discussed here was prepared by Retail TouchPoints and commissioned by TSYS.
Click here for the full Loyalty & Prepaid study findings & report.

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Take-aways from Loyalty Expo: Social media, personalizing loyalty & mobile segmentation

GCP’s
Vice President of  Sales,
Diane Freeland,
is back from Loyalty 360’s annual Loyalty Expo & shares the top discussions that caught her attention.
Social media and customer care: Social media has altered the role of customer service in an organization, from primarily a support function to an extension of marketing. Brands can listen to what customers are saying, they can be proactive and more widely solicit product or service feedback, offer incentives like gift cards or points for sharing product information. Many of GCP’s clients are taking social media seriously,
1-800-Flowers was one of the first retailers to use Facebook's platform. For more details on social media & customer care, check out:
How to Integrate Customer Service Into Social Media Marketing. It also includes 12 Ways Social Media Enhances Customer Service and 5 Ways to Measure Social Media Customer Service.
What’s next for loyalty programs? Are traditional points based loyalty programs dead?  The consensus was NO. However, significantly different redemption options need to be brought into the mix with gift cards, merchandise, and travel rewards (e.g intrinsic rewards like virtual game currency). We heard some interesting discussion around personalizing loyalty rewards for individual participants. Traditional loyalty programs offer everyone the same reward options; when rewards are personalized it starts a dialogue and treats the customer to rewards they’ve selected versus what is offered across the program. What if customers can select or “favorite” categories of rewards like gift cards for children’s clothes, brands of merchandise like “Apple”, and travel customized to “Inns on the east coast”? The learnings from programs like this could go a long way for the development of loyalty programs that listen!
Mobile Segmentation Marketing: Another interesting way to listen and respond to loyal customers; shaping customer personas based on their mobile usage. This allows thoughtful marketers to send the right kinds of messages to the right users and reward for loyalty via the right technology. The goal is to better increase the value of customer relationships based on how customers use their mobile phones, like m-certs (mobile gift cards). Carlson Marketing gave some great examples of how they are engaging in this strategy for the Hallmark Crown Rewards loyalty program; "Interactions turned into transactions". For more insights to mobile technology and gift cards, read GCP's article:
Why Mobile & Virtual Gift Cards are Becoming a Way of Life GCP will be launching our new website in the coming week, keep a look out:
www.giftcardpartners.com Follow us on Twitter:
http://twitter.com/#!/GiftCardPartner

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Prepaid Congress Debrief: E-Certs

GiftCard Partners attended the 2nd annual Prepaid Congress this week, so over the coming week or so we will be posting information from the Congress. E-certifications, are an emerging closed loop gift card technology within the incentive industry that allow retailers to instantly deliver incentives to their customers through either cell phone technology, or online.  According to the Mercator Group 33% of retailers in the U.S. currently offer e-certification incentives.  E-certifications can save incentive companies fulfillment charges, and provide instant gratification to the customers receiving the incentives.  E-certifications are opening up new markets for retailers who are able to participate because e-certifications are opening up new avenues to contact customers and deliver marketing messages.  Some studies even suggest that e-certs are more effective at delivering memorable long lasting marketing messages than physical gift cards.

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