500FRIENDS BLOG
Loyalty trends & best practices

500friends, a Merkle Company Named a Leader among Customer Loyalty Solution Providers for Midsize Organizations

by Julia Leyrer
January 04, 2016
500friends, a Merkle Company Named a Leader among Customer Loyalty Solution Providers for Midsize Organizations

500friends, a Merkle Company has been recognized by Forrester Research as a Leader in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Loyalty Solutions for Midsize Organizations, Q1 2016. The Forrester report assessed the state of the loyalty solutions market and how seven vendors stack up against each other across 40 criteria. The evaluation focused on current offering, strategy, and market presence. 500friends received the highest overall score within the evaluation, supporting its strong, complete offering and vision for continued innovation. The highest individual scores 500friends received were in pricing structure, company performance, and loyalty management. According to the report, 500friends’ “clients praise both the platform and the people. Specifically, they like LoyaltyPlus’s flexibility and ease of use, and indicate that implementations are typically on-time and… Read more

Direct Marketing News: Two Views of Customer Loyalty

by Julia Leyrer
December 30, 2015
Direct Marketing News: Two Views of Customer Loyalty

Direct Marketing News’ loyalty ebook, One Tough Question: Two Views of Customer Loyalty, featured the thoughts of Justin Yoshimura, CEO of 500friends, on two differing definitions of customer loyalty, and what marketers should do. You can download the full ebook here. The question from Direct Marketing News: One of the biggest challenges with customer loyalty is the often-conflicting definitions that marketers and customers have regarding loyalty. In grocery, for instance, customers who purchase bulk items monthly may consider themselves loyal; however, the grocer they buy from might not because—despite the regularity of their purchases—those customers aren’t buying their staples from that grocer. And buying staple items weekly is how that grocer defines loyalty. So, the question for marketers, then, is this: How should an organization best reward or recognize customers who see themselves as loya… Read more

The Plenti Program: What does it mean for the competition?

by Arif Damji
December 12, 2015
The Plenti Program: What does it mean for the competition?

It’s official—the U.S. finally has its newest attempt at a coalition loyalty program. Though it’s not the first to try and break into the tough U.S. market, Plenti has clearly become the latest coalition program in North America to gain traction. That being said, many observers and competitors are baffled about what a coalition program is and why it is compelling, whether Plenti has and will be successful, as well as what it means for the competition. What is a coalition program and why is it compelling? A coalition program is built off the premise of loyalty being a network effect whose appeal grows with further ways to engage and be rewarded by the program. Imagine the situation where you frequent a particular restaurant twice-a-year and they create a loyalty program. The program will probably not be very appealing to you as (a) you don’t visit the restaurant enough to really engage and ea… Read more

Single Objective vs. Multi-Objective Loyalty Programs

by Julia Leyrer
November 20, 2015
Single Objective vs. Multi-Objective Loyalty Programs

When it comes to providing initiatives to existing and prospective customers with objectives such as increasing customer retention and acquisition, there are two main approaches that are taken with promotions: single objective and multi-objective approaches. Although each provide a valued initiative to influence a certain customer action, they differ in how customers engage over time and how they’re structured within the business. Below, I address the differences between the two, and when to know which approach to take. Single objective. As it sounds, single objective approaches are loyalty initiatives that are created around a single objective in mind. This may be retention of at-risk customers through rebates, referrals of new customers with gift certificates, or the addition of benefits to increase overall customer satisfaction. This is commonly seen in the television network industry where... Read more

5 Pointers for Retailers during this Black Friday & Cyber Monday

by Arif Damji
November 13, 2015
5 Pointers for Retailers during this Black Friday & Cyber Monday

The largest consumer shopping time of the year is upon us and as many retailers are preparing, we've come up with 5 pointers for how to use your loyalty program to make the most of this Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 1. Layer special offers for your loyalty members. Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions are normally sitewide or store-wide, aimed at your entire customer base. However, think about this from a member’s perspective--they joined for additional benefits and rewards. Consider providing members with points multipliers, exclusive sale items, or additional discounts (though be careful of margin implications). Also, remember that if you are worried about managing liability with the program, additional offers don’t have to be published or aimed at the entire member base. 2. Target your lapsed members. Members who haven’t made a purchase in a significant amount of time are pe... Read more

Loyalty for Luxury Brands

by Arif Damji
October 19, 2015
Loyalty for Luxury Brands

Over the last year, there has been a migration of luxury brands towards launching loyalty based programs. This, on our side, has meant a number of conversations with high-end brands interested in starting or restarting a loyalty program, often with the intention of moving customers to their direct channel and retaining more of their best customers. However, many remain concerned that a loyalty will “cheapen” their brand to their most discerning customers. I’m reminded of a conversation with the CEO of an online jeweler retailer who proclaimed, “Why should my customers collect points? They collect fine jewelry.” This fear and concern is of course valid, and in a world of declining loyalty program participation, high spending consumers are the first to lose interest in loyalty programs. So, should a luxury brand even look through the looking glass at a world of loyalty? The answer is a resounding YES, especially as many h... Read more

3 Musts for Retailers This Back to School Season

by Julia Leyrer
July 10, 2015
3 Musts for Retailers This Back to School Season

Back to school season is upon us and retailers are getting ready for what is expected to be a stronger consumer spending year. As you prepare for the season, carefully think about how to best use your loyalty program to keep your customers choosing your brand while shopping. Consider these 3 ways to reach your goals this season: 1. Use customer data for personalization. Give your loyalty members a reason to feel special and offer them unique advantages for being a part of your program, instead of having the same offers across the board for all existing and new customers. They are already seeing offers from various retailers, so your program should make them feel like they are valued members who are receiving additional exclusive offers that are special to them. Leverage your repository of customer data—from what products your customers have looked at and saved/added to a wish list, to products th... Read more

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