What Does a Global Crisis Teach Us About Loyalty Programs

Clock icon 4 min read Calendar icon Mar 16, 2020

What Does a Global Crisis Teach Us About Loyalty Programs

Our newsfeeds have been gripped by the pandemic conversation about COVID-19. Our economic markets are tumbling. Our schools, sporting events and offices are closing. Entire regions of countries are on lock down. Undoubtedly our supply chains will be affected for weeks if not months to come.

People are looking for information not only from health officials and governments, but also from the brands they choose, trust and interact with every day. Businesses are the lifeblood of a society and we can’t all shutter the doors indefinitely.

So what does a Loyalty Program have to do with brands managing during a global crisis? Investing in building and maintaining a loyalty program doesn’t just help the bottom line for brands during the good times; it also provides an effective avenue for connecting with your customers during the bad times.

Here are three simple examples:


One of the key reasons brands tell me they either want to build a loyalty program or continue to grow their loyalty program is because it is the most effective way of acquiring their customers into an ongoing communication stream. Customers in loyalty programs sign up for email communications at a much higher rate than customers not in the loyalty program. They’re used to receiving regular emails with updates about earning or spending points, new products, and other content that’s relevant to them.

They also tend to watch those brands’ social feeds more often to keep up with the loyalty program. In times of crisis, having a loyalty program gives a brand the best means to reach that audience, whether they have a product recall or worse, when something as severe as a pandemic hits the world. Whatever you need to communicate to your customers whenever you need to talk to them, the loyalty program is your strongest avenue.

Providing Help in Crisis:

A loyalty program helps brands rally their customers together to help others. When a crisis hits, brands can allow their customers to convert their points to donations that will help those people affected. A decade ago, Haiti was devastated with an earthquake that severely affected all areas of life for their people. I worked with a diaper brand at that time who wanted to send aid to families who couldn’t get access to diapers or who wouldn’t be able to afford to buy diapers due to the expected lack of earnings their people would face.

The brand pledged support by donating a large amount of diapers to the country and we immediately had added an option for members of the brand’s loyalty program to donate some or all of their points to help with the cause. A certain number of points equated to the brand donating even more diapers on behalf of their members. Our customers inherently want to help people and the loyalty program quickly gave them that ability to do that during the catastrophe.

Knowing Your Customers:

When a brand runs a loyalty program with Snipp, we validate all purchases either through POS integration or through SnippCheck, our award-winning receipt processing and validation system. We know what the brands’ customers are buying, where and when. This data is not anonymized like shopper data that brands purchase from their insights partners.

For a pet care brand, we would specifically know that Anthony Aguiar at 123 Anywhere Lane in Richmond Virginia buys a 7 lb bag of adult cat food monthly, an 11 lb bag of premium dry kibble dog food every 3 weeks and a 12 pack of canned dog food monthly. We know 80% of the time he buys his pet food at PetSmart, but he also picks up food from time to time at Walmart and Kroger. Even more, we know how many pets he has, their ages and their breeds as we can ask this information during initial registration or through snackable content surveys that keep us informed of his pet family.

This information gives us the ability to effectively communicate information and offers to Anthony at a personalized level. If we know that a crisis is going to affect supply chain for only a specific brand or size of food that Anthony purchases, we can target communications to him and other customers in that same segment. We can recommend other products that he can substitute. If we know a crisis has affected his geographic region, we can target offers to Anthony and customers in his area that might help them, such as BOGO coupons or even free products. Data in Loyalty Programs is so abundant and powerful that even in times of crisis, we can mine it to help our customers.

Loyalty Programs don’t just have to be about earning and spending points, nor do they have to only be corporate vehicles for revenue. With the right implementation approach and partner like Snipp, they can really help brands to help their customers in dire times. If we take care of our customers – in good times and in bad – they will take care of us.

– Anthony Aguiar, VP of Sales and Business Development, Snipp Interactive