Technology today is allowing brands to interact with customers in more ways than ever before. More than that, it allows interactions that happen effectively in real-time. This is a shift that has far-reaching implications for buyer/brand relations, which have only begun to be explored.
Today, a brand loyalty program is far more than a simple “points card” or discount-at-checkout setup. A smart and well-targeted brand loyalty program can keep buyers engaged with your brand in their everyday lives, and potentially interacting at all times of day.
Understanding the Impact of Technology on Buyer Behavior and Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty initiatives are so exciting today specifically because they can take advantage of all the different ways that buyers are interacting with technology.
- Mobile-first platforms: The majority of buyers today are now firmly mobile first. They pull out their smartphones and tablets as their first move for solving almost any buying “problem,” from initial research, to price-checking, to often making the purchase itself. Modern loyalty programs can take advantage of this with integrated APIs and applets that ensure their brand has a strong presence on the user’s device itself.
- Wearable integration: One of the hottest new tech trends is wearables, such as watches, bracelets, and even glasses, which remain permanently connected online. Smart brands are finding ways to integrate these devices into their own promotions, such as sports companies utilizing fitness-tracking wearables like the Fitbit to incentivize brand-positive behaviors.
- Constant data streams: Online/mobile based customer programs are increasingly providing a near-continuous data stream, bringing brands unprecedented insight into customer behavior throughout their daily lives. These insights translate directly into improved marketing initiatives that are ever-better at targeting market niches both large and small.
- Seamless integration: The fewer steps a customer must take to participate in a loyalty program, the better. The combination of mobile tracking methods and Wi-Fi technology such as near-field communication allow “touchless” customer interactions. Just look at Amazon’s new physical grocery store that doesn’t even have checkouts, because all interactions are wireless.
Right now, the sky is truly the limit when it comes to integrating a brand loyalty program with the technology a buyer has on their person. The right loyalty initiatives can make a brand part of a buyer’s life, creating a truly real-time connection between them and the brand.