As a technology vendor in the promotions and loyalty space, we are exposed to exciting ideas across a wide range of brands in the retail marketing space. As the sales arm of Snipp, we’re at the forefront of helping our clients ideate new and innovative programs right from the start. In this article, I’ll outline the latest customer loyalty trends that have been helping brands adapt to the changing marketplace.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. Loyalty programs are far from a new topic, but what’s exciting about the conversations we’re having in the space is in the unique approach to loyalty. Most brand websites will have the basic program setup: Create an account to receive the newsletter with weekly coupons and other audience relevant content.
Organizations are now looking beyond that to craft an Omni-channel program that captures the eyes, clicks, and wallets of shoppers in a way that their competitors are not. Often labelled a “Rewards Program,” the goal is to create one portal to house all shopper engagement and encapsulate everything short of selling the products right then and there.
If you’re familiar with Snipp then you likely already know about receipt validation. The ability for shoppers to snap a picture of the receipt and upload it to earn a reward, sweepstakes entry, or points towards a loyalty program. We’ve done this with Starbucks, Kellogg’s and Huggies to name a few. While purchase validation is certainly something that brands are interested in integrating into their existing loyalty programs, the exciting conversations we’re having with brands that want to build a program from scratch.
One example that stands out is our work with Procter & Gamble to develop a loyalty program specifically at Publix. The challenge was that shoppers don’t typically see grocery stores as the destination to purchase personal care products and Publix didn’t have a holistic loyalty program for them to bolt into.
The solution was for P&G to partner up with popular food and beverage brands like Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, and PepsiCo to build a platform that rewarded shoppers for purchasing their products when doing their grocery shopping. The program is called “Stocking Spree” and was a big hit for all parties involved, to the point that we earned a speaking spot at the Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago alongside P&G and other key stakeholders of the program.
This goes to show that some of the largest CPG brands in the space are still presented with unique challenges specific to the various retailers they work with. The end goal is to offer a robust program to shoppers that will reward them for their ongoing loyalty regardless where they choose to shop.
A large part of CPG marketing is finding a way to connect with shoppers in between purchases, when they’re busy living their lives (and by that I mean laying on the couch with Netflix on in the background and a phone directly in front of their face). This is a topic that is becoming more and more common in our conversations with brands as they begin to shape their marketing roadmap or finalize program tactics for this year.
Most organizations already have the standard Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat presence designed to seamlessly blend into the digital lives of consumers, however there are some exciting innovations within those experiences that are coming to the forefront. Augmented Reality (AR) is a hot topic this year with both Snapchat and Instagram releasing custom AR filters to social influencers and celebrities.
Mobile Marketer recently published a piece detailing the innovative approach Nicki Minaj’s team took to promote her new “Queen” album by integrating a purchase function into the AR filter on Snapchat. Fans could virtually try on a jeweled face mask through the app and simply tap the “Add to Bag” button to buy the album and “Queen” necklace. What an excellent move to leverage the massive attention from her fan base surrounding a new album release and fusing both exciting new social technology with the click-of-a-button purchase functionality.
A less innovative, but incredibly popular mechanism in social media marketing is hashtags. Last year, we powered a cool program with Anheuser Busch which drove social influencers in the DJ segment to promote Presidente beer on their social pages. We’re able to validate hashtags that will earn people sweepstakes entry, digital rewards, or points towards a loyalty program easily. It’s a relatively low cost approach that we’re seeing many brands plug into their strategy as a means to spread the word quickly for rebranding campaigns or new product launches.
Along with becoming more mobile savvy and integrating into consumer’s social media lives, brands are also looking to improve the online shopping experience. Most programs that we launch with our CPG clients are still within physical retail locations like Walmart, Target and Kroger however the growing adoption of eCommerce is changing the way both brands and retailers are approaching this space.
One of the major impacts on the retail marketing environment was the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon in 2017. This sent shockwaves throughout the industry as many wondered how this would alter the retail shopping experience. Amazon now has a “brick-and-mortar” channel to continue evolving their product offering which has caused many brands to ponder how they can strike a balance between eCommerce and the traditional shopping journey.
A new concept we’ve rolled out this year for PepsiCo leveraged the “Sam’s Club Pickup” program which allows shoppers to order ahead online and simply go pick up their products. We incentivized shoppers to adopt this new method by offering a digital gift card for submitting their order receipt after purchasing a specified amount of PepsiCo products. The program first launched in May for an initial test promotion and had great participation, Phase 2 has already rolled out for the Back-to-School window. We were very excited to be involved in such a new program for both organizations and see immediate traction.
Loyalty, Social engagement, and eComm are just a few of the hot topics in our discussions with brands. The common theme is that the shopping experience is continuing to evolve and everyone in the industry is trying to be ahead of the curve or at least keep up with the times. 2019 is coming quicker than you think, we’re already deep into exciting conversations with our clients drumming up new ideas for next year.
Director of Sales Operations, Snipp Interactive