The Great Channel Expansion of 2016 - The May 6 Customer Engagement Recap

By Brandon Carter | Updated on May 6, 2016 7:00:00 AM

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The news and Opinions affecting consumer engagement 

That You Need to Know

 

In this week's customer engagement recap:

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    • Forrester: Amazon driving 60% of total U.S. online retail sales growth (Retail Dive)

There's no doubt that eCommerce is surging.

But it merits a closer look. Is it really surging as a whole? Or is it really just a handful of giants that are monopolizing the vast majority of transactions?

We'll look into this issue closer, but one thing is certain: local, in-store is still where most money goes. If you want to get to the heart of where consumers are spending, go there. That won't be changing for a long, long time. 

We love email. This is in no way one of those "Email is Dead" articles marketing bloggers like to trot out so often. This article outlines why email is at risk. The degree of that risk is up for debate, but it's enough to put the word out: earning multiple connections is about to be vital. One connection will be email. The other can be through social, or texts, or if you want to get creative with it...

Yeah, being faced with the scrutiny of Reddit seems intimidating, but remember - if there's something negative being said out there about your brand, you want to be there. Even an online forum that you own can seem like the wild, wild west. But the payoffs are larger in this forums. I'd argue even larger than what you may get out of your own emails.

  • US: Books-A-Million reward program lavishes members with soft benefits (The Wise Marketer)

Another trend we'll be covering more soon: premium loyalty programs. It seems like they launched with Prime, but in reality these programs have been around for decades. Prime did spark a resurgence, leading to companies like Restoration Hardware and now, Books-A-Million to jump in.

It's a flip of the classic loyalty program model - instead of earning rewards for transactions and/or behavior, people can now just buy the rewards. The only way this will be sustainable is if the rewards inspire ongoing purchases that once earned them. 

Side note: The Wise Marketer has always been great, but we're enjoying the new, cutting style it's adopted since the change in ownership. It's nice to have more defenders of the loyalty trade, as well as a critical eye on certain developments.

  • Social Listening and Starbucks Rewards Changes (Maritz)

In part because I was once a full-time social media manager, and because we've covered the Starbucks change extensively, I thought this was an interesting post. The big takeaway that most social media pros learn the hard way: social media has a lot to say, but no program or monitoring system will ever truly communicate actual sentiment. That requires getting down in the dirt, reading and responding to both haters and lovers alike.

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Topics: Customer Engagement, consumer trends

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding.

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