February 22, 2019

Card-linked Offers: Innovations in Loyalty That Cannot Be Ignored

Written By
Lacey Miller

The ‘doom-and-gloom’ of in-store retail has been largely exaggerated but it’s worth noting that there were 13 retail bankruptcies in 2018, and massive store closings - Kmart, Claire’s, Teavana, Mattress Firm, and David’s Bridal, to name a few. But most retailers noted experiencial problems: plummeting traffic at malls, the inability to keep up with new market competition, and changing trends on how people spend their money. This isn’t about retail, it’s about the growing importance for retailers to evolve and create marketing programs that attract consumers to stores and build brand experiences that keeps people coming back.

Bringing consumers back to stores - the evolution of rewards and loyalty

While the increase in online shopping is being blamed for store closures, the truth is, according to Retail Touchpoints, 94% of all retail purchases still take place in stores. In fact, in-store is still seeing steady growth year-over-year. The retailers shutting down aren’t being replaced by ecommerce, they are being replaced by brands who provide a superior customer experience, like Casper over Mattress Firm. Even Amazon opened brick-and-mortar stores this past year.

But, just because in-store still dominates the point-of-purchase, doesn’t mean the buyer path remains the same. For reference, the path to purchase used to be very linear and predictable.

And merchants could count on that consistency and regularity, even in their loyalty programs.

But today the buyer’s journey has changed. Instead of visiting the store and talking to an associate to learn more, consumers rely on a mix of mainly digital channels to gather more information.

*online video stat

And with the buyer’s journey, loyalty programs have also evolved in effort to bring consumers into stores. Marketers ditched the punch cards, and loyalty programs are much more tech-based, relevant, and engaging. A report by Forrester indicates consumers view these types of programs favorably, and are constantly looking for new and innovative ones. So, considering that 87% of consumers are more likely to shop somewhere that rewards them, this is a huge opportunity for retailers.

Card-linked cash back offers are one way loyalty programs have evolved, and consumers love them. McKinsey found that consumers’ use of card-linked mobile and digital coupons have more than quintupled in each of the past two years. And best-in-class marketers are catching on - McKinsey predicts card-linked offers and mobile coupons by brands will continue to grow by around 50% into 2019.

“Over the past 12 months, card-linking has emerged as the killer app in online-to-offline (O2O) commerce and the Internet of Things,” said Silvio Tavares, CardLinx president and CEO.

With minimal effort, through card-linked cash back offers, brands can integrate rewards across their online and offline channels to help drive in-store sales - Forever 21 saw a 7% higher frequency of in-store shoppers. As an added benefit, cash back card-linked strategies allow marketers to gather broad transactional data to learn about customer purchasing behavior, which they can use to create more effective marketing strategies.

Personalization - The future of card-linked cash back offers

Personalization is no longer a nice to have, but table stakes for success, with 60% of consumers expecting brands to deliver tailored experiences, and 43% reporting that their desire for personalization has grown in the last year alone.

Consumers not only want a good deal, they want their favorite brands to know them - it’s about to get cold where they live, they are shopping for winter clothes, they prefer a laid back style, and they are glued to their phone - and then, they want to receive targeted recommendations that are a perfect fit for their needs and preferences. Some brands are already doing amazing things with data to deliver highly personalized marketing.

Target found a way to use all the data at their fingertips to market baby products to women before they have a baby. Specifically, Target marketers were able to send specially designed ads to women in their second trimester, which is before they get bombarded with other baby ads, and when most expectant mothers begin buying all sorts of new things, like prenatal vitamins and maternity clothing. Through hyper-personalization, Target created a strong relationship between brand and mother.

Personalization in card-linked cash back offers has grown to meet the goals of marketers looking to build Target-inspired personalized strategies. Card-linked cash back offers provide data that allows marketers better reach customers with offers based on past purchases. Dosh’s merchant platform provides brand partners with transactional data from amount spent, to transactions per subscriber, to competitive performance data that allows marketers to target consumers with more relevant cash back offers. The future of card-linked cash back offers lies in taking that personalization to the next level.

Retailers can’t afford to ignore the evolution of loyalty programs that bring consumers to stores. The future of national brick and mortar retailers depends on how well they can consistently attract new customers and build customer loyalty that drives consistent in-store sales. Card-linked cash back offers help retailers create personalized marketing efforts that draw consumers into stores and keep them coming back. Get in touch with Dosh and see how cash back offers can help you build a card-linked strategy to see immediate ROI.

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