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Posted by Brandon Carter on Feb 6, 2019 12:28:00 PM

A customer is someone who buys something. A member is someone who belongs to something.

We should all aim to have members, even if we don't have a formal membership structure. Members, in this sense, are customers who have developed a deeper, ongoing relationship with your product or brand.

These relationships don’t happen by accident. Some brands can develop deep cult followings, but not all of us can be Apple or Starbucks.

We can however, borrow specific tactics from membership groups designed to build engagement and long-term loyalty.

Start small. Try any of these 20 engagement tactics used by some of the largest membership organizations in the world.

One of the great things about working at Access is its positive attitude towards work-life balance and employee wellness. As a result, I get to spend more time doing what I love outside of work, in this case teaching and taking dance classes on a weekly basis. Over the past decade, the first brand I turn to when I need (or heck, just want) a new piece of athletic clothing is Lulu Lemon.

Why? Because when I shop Lulu I feel valued, appreciated, understood and like I’m part of something.

How is that possible?

To start, its athletic clothing is made with specific purposes in mind as the description of what each item is ideal for can be found on the tag. I also perceive Lulu’s clothing designs to excel in the area of flattering and fitting women’s body types. And, it offers in-store hemming services at no charge so you feel like each item was made just for you.

Bonus! Lulu has a program called “Sweat Collective” for people who teach/coach athletic activities. As a part of this group, I enjoy 25% off all of my personal purchases and feel my input/opinion on products is valued.

Plus, the popular athletic retailer offers community fitness and wellness classes/events all over the world.

So… am I emotionally connected with/engaged/loyal to Lulu Lemon?

Have you seen our Loyalty Statistics: the Ultimate Collection page lately?

If not, you should. It’s ballooned to a jaw-dropping 1000+ statistics curated from across the web over the last 5 years. And it’s still growing.

They come from studies run by industry leaders and top firms across the nation. Organizations and businesses have used it for research, presentations and to influence member benefit strategies. It has become a trusted resource for a host of companies worldwide as they navigate the complex and sometimes confusing notion of “loyalty.”

As obsessed as we are about all things member loyalty and member benefits, we recognize that no one statistic tells the full story. Still, we’ve dedicated this entire blog to exploring every nuance of customer and member loyalty – and as we’ve organized the statistics, a few interesting trends have emerged.

 

#1 - More Loyalty Programs Competing for Attention — and Failing

Attracting people to your loyalty program is a massive undertaking, and nothing is more frustrating than seeing membership numbers rise while usage stays stagnant. After all, what’s the point of having a loyalty program if people aren’t finding value in it?

It was only a few centuries ago (a short time in the grand scale of humanity) that a shopper’s only option was the town’s General Store. It doesn’t take much to earn a person’s loyalty if you’re the only option available.

But now the market is flooded with options. So much so that 63% of Millennials and Gen Z agree they have so many choices, a brand has to show them loyalty in order to gain their business — not the other way around.

The same argument applies to loyalty programs. 65% of consumers reported they actively engage with fewer than half of their loyalty programs and 41% with fewer than a quarter of them. Americans collectively hold 3.8 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs. Consider then, that Millennials report maxing out with activity in 4.2 loyalty programs, and only 3.9 programs for all consumers.

The reality is, your loyalty program might get ignored simply because members are engaged in too many others. And with that kind of competition, you can’t skimp on the value.

The statistics have clearly identified the issue plaguing loyalty platforms everywhere. If you need some ideas, click to view strategies for standing out from the crowd

 

#2 - Losing Loyalty Can Happen Fast, But Winning it Back Still Possible 

Loyalty is hard-won in the first place, so the best-case scenario obviously is to never lose it. However, bad experiences happen. Employees have off days, products are sometimes faulty, benefits sometimes fail to live up to expectations.

And the statistics are showing just what it takes to convince customers to switch away from a brand to which they were previously loyal.

The answer? Not much.

Consumers reported it takes anywhere from 1 (19%) to 3 (58%) bad experiences before they take their business elsewhere. Millennials reported that prices 10% to 15% better at a competitor could get them to switch. And fully half (50%) reported they simply found someone else who better meets their needs.

It may seem discouraging to see how increasingly easy it is to lose once loyal customers to other brands. But don’t throw in the towel. You can actually win them back. They’ve said so themselves.

When brands develop a history of transparency, about 90% of consumers said they are more willing to give brands a second chance after a bad experience.

This means before the bad experience even takes place, people want companies to have a strong social media presence that makes them feel more human. Then, once they’ve built this platform of trust, it’s the perfect forum for making things right. After all, when people see you making things right with one member, it can deepen their trust in you, even when they’re not directly involved.

Plus, it’s important to remember that customer engagement is a cumulative experience. And one bad day will seem so much less important if it’s drowning in a flood of positive ones. 

 

#3 - The Key to Getting Valuable Customer Personal Data? Trust and Value

Data is king. Many companies are hungry for data about their members and customers. After all, armed with valuable demographics, organizations could start segmenting their marketing plans and really delivering up the best value to each individual.

The problem is, most organizations don’t know quite how to get it.

The statistics show that 34% of Millennials won’t join a membership program because the enrollment process is too long. At the end of the day, members aren’t going to give up personal details for nothing.

I myself have joined a group or 2 with the information: First name = Me, Last name = Me, email address = Me@me.com. Why? Well I couldn’t tell if it would be worth my while without signing up first. And I didn’t want them bugging me if it wasn’t.

Trust has to come first. Trust that their membership will bring them value. Trust that you will use their information with care. So what does that mean for organizations? Try asking for the bare minimum of information to help them get in the door. After you’ve developed that trust, you can ask for more detailed information.

Luckily, the statistics also show that the vast majority of people are more than willing to share their information… as long as you make it worth their while. In fact, 90% of consumers are okay with brands knowing more about them if it helps deliver a more rewarding and satisfying shopping experience.

So what will members trade their personal data for? Well, statistics show they are most interested in exclusive deals (60%), the ability to gain points and rewards (56%) or for a more personalized experience (55% of Millennials).

So, if incentives and personalized value will get you the data you’re looking for, make sure that value is present in your loyalty program.

 

Let's Learn Together

There’s a lot more stats where those came from, and a lot more conclusions to be drawn from them. Take a look for yourself. If you notice any trends, we'd love to hear from you. Comment below.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Dec 18, 2018 3:33:15 PM

The holiday spirit is in the air at Access this time of year. When you walk through the office halls on any given day in December, you're bound to see decorated cubicles, a Christmas tree in the front lobby, and employees participating in spirit days full of baked treats, festive socks, ugly Christmas sweaters and more.

In fact, we just celebrated a great year with our annual company holiday luncheon - where we reveled merrily about the work put in over this past year to support you. Our clients. Our merchant partners.

In short, our friends. 

The 2018 holiday season is officially here, and you can bet your bottom dollar that consumers everywhere are preparing for it.

The question is: are you?

Whether you're in the business of customer loyalty, employee engagement, or member retention, the holidays represent a major opportunity to strengthen the relationships you value most.

Here at Access, we want to help you get ready. After all, 91% of consumers say they plan to "celebrate the season" this year, giving you a chance to fill a stocking with goodwill. Read on to learn more about how (and why) a little extra care and consideration can go a long way during the holidays.

Holiday Spending: Bigger Than Ever

With Thanksgiving and Christmas just around the corner, people are feeling pressure to stay on top of their holiday shopping. 18% of U.S. consumers started their yuletide spending as early as September, with another 21% beginning before November and 60% before Thanksgiving.

There's no intention of slowing down the festive spending this year as retail holiday sales in the U.S. are predicted to grow between 4.3% and 4.8% over 2017, with Americans projected to spend up to $720.89 billion this year. Last year, 58 of the 60 shopping days in November and December resulted in over $1 billion sales ALONE.

It's no secret people are spending larger-than-usual sums of money to get ready for the holidays. So what exactly are they spending their hard earned dollars on this time of year?

Consumers plan to spend a total of $1,007 on average for items like decorations, candy and gifts. When buying gifts for others, the most popular purchases are gift cards/certificates (54%), clothing (53%), toys/games (46%), books (43%) and food/liquor (39%). And many consumers, 78% to be exact, are looking simply to shop for themselves. When they do treat themselves, 42% say they'll choose food/liquor, 40% clothing, 26% shoes, 22% books and 21% cosmetics/fragrances/health & beauty.

 Getting free stuff is great, but…

There’s always a little skepticism that comes with a “free” price tag. What’s wrong with it? Does the quality level match the price? How good can it really be if it’s free?

You get the idea – generally, the lower the price the less you expect from the product or service. So, maybe some things really are worth paying for?

The idea of a free price tag has even higher stakes when it comes to businesses. Free stuff can be risky for a business, especially if it’s going in front of customers. At risk is more than just a few dollars - the cost of reputation and customer perception can be enormous.

Our advice? Buyer beware. If it has your brand on it, then it’s worth an investment.

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