Loyalty Marketing Platform Technology – Retail TV Roundtable In this years record-breaking NACS show and expo in Las Vegas, the organisation that represents our industry globally welcomed over 25,000 visitors from seventy-two countries. Described as “the most comprehensive representation of products and services for the convenience and fuel retailing industry”, the event is an annual highlight for decision makers to identify emerging global trends and opportunities to grow their businesses, covering everything from product ideas to leadership trends, and of course technology insights. It also provides the essential education needed to inform, educate and inspire the global convenience sector. Here at Liquid Barcodes, we’re always keen to be part of these key conversations, sharing our own ideas and global insights on how marketing and loyalty technology can be applied most effectively in order to drive convenience store profitability.
This year, as in 2017, our CEO Mats Danielsen once again joined Dan Munford of Retail Vision TV to give his perspective on the do’s and don’ts of loyalty marketing best practice, joining Rodrigo Zavala, CEO Americas at Puma Energy, Jay Erickson, President at EG America LLC and Joe Barrett, COO at Applegreen – all keen to share their vast experience in the industry worldwide. A number of similar themes came up again this year which had arisen in 2017 such as the continued importance of healthy eating, as well as a focus on finding and keeping great staff, and how they drive the customer’s experience in store. These were discussed along with the increasing complexity and importance of technology – an area of increasing investment for convenience retailers globally.
- Don’t let technology take over. If your technology solutions are over-engineered, the result is confusion and complexity which can adversely affect the customer’s experience, for example, capturing customer’s data or an over-reliance on your loyalty platform to recognise and welcome your customers in store. Our panel of industry leaders agreed on the need to balance the traditional approach of customer service with a smile, and combine it with the best practice digital experiences available within the next-generation of loyalty platforms. Simplicity is essential.
- Loyalty programmes succeed when they are actively and enthusiastically promoted by customer facing staff. While finding, retaining and motivating staff was mentioned as a challenge across all global markets, there was also a clear message that staff are a real asset that can support, encourage and drive success at the point of purchase. The importance of staff buy-in is often one of the last stages of a programme launch and they can sometimes be under-valued as one of the critical success factors in executing the strategy. This potential for immediate impact means staff themselves must thoroughly understand the programme’s benefits and be excited by them. Only then will they deliver the essential encouragement to customers to sign up at the time of purchase.
Top Take-outs from our CEO:
- No platform or programme should ever detract from the core business operations. If a store persists with legacy systems and operations, it risks becoming an “inconvenience store” rather than the friction-less solution customers need.
- Loyalty programmes are moving ‘beyond points and coupons’. With many brands approaching the fourth-generation evolution of their customer loyalty programme, it’s critical to find ways to connect with customers in order to educate, inspire and engage them. The goal of any programme must be to ‘captivate’ the customer in a way that also benefits the business longer-term.
- Many brands are still only seeing their loyalty programme as a tactical tool for offers and points management, yet in this age of retail disruption and cluttered campaigns, a brand’s loyalty programme should be seen as a strategic asset that drives the ‘O2O’ loop. Smartphones are the access point point between stores and visitors that can create the ‘virtuous circle’ of online browsing to offline store traffic. Brands who’ve approached their programmes from this strategic perspective (such as Circle K in Hong Kong), have direct access to connect with their customers and can use this as a competitive advantage to drive desirable customer behaviours.
Future Focus for Convenience Retail:
Dan invited the panel to predict the future five years forward. Predictions from Applegreen included the continued growth of electric vehicles, and the opportunities to cater to their extended needs, as well as further enhancements in healthy eating, hopefully at a more affordable price point for customers. They are also expecting further consolidation by store operators globally. Jay Erickson of EG America predicted that many stores (where space permits) will become ‘destinations’ where customers choose to spend more time, as well as the emergence of the ‘fourth generation’ of loyalty programmes.
All of these industry leaders agree that they are focused on leveraging the latest technology, which is already expected to include the pre-order and pay-by-phone functionality that customers have adopted so quickly in the coffee sector.
No matter what trends emerge – whether expected or as yet unknown, there’s no doubt that the annual NACS Shows in the US, Europe and Asia will continue to bring together the key people from every sector of the industry to connect and network, sharing our experiences and expertise to further captivate our customers in order to grow our businesses and profits.
Liquid Barcodes is a leading global loyalty technology company specialized for the convenience store and foodservice industries. Our proprietary cloud-based technology platform allow retailers to create and manage their digital marketing campaigns with a proprietary process we call the “customer connection cycle’ to engage, promote and reward customers activities in real-time across digital and media channels.
How we do it:
We have developed the most advanced loyalty and digital marketing technology platform specifically for convenience store and foodservice retailers globally.
Retailers use our self-service dashboard to create and manage loyalty driven marketing campaigns that increase purchases with their existing customers, as well as effectively target and acquire new customers through partners or paid media channels.
One core component of live loyalty is gamification. We have gamified branding, loyalty and promotions. We believe this approach is essential in order to get customers’ attention and ultimately truly engage them with repeatable actions thereby winning their loyalty.
Check out some of our exciting/proven results here:
Chief Content Officer, Liquid Barcodes and Independent Loyalty Consultant.
With over twenty-five years marketing experience, I specialise in loyalty marketing consulting, managing consumer loyalty propositions, strategy and operations. In addition to working with Liquid Barcodes, my clients have included Telefonica O2, Three Mobile, Electric Ireland, Allied Irish Bank and The Entertainer, as well as Avios – the global points currency for some of the world’s top airlines. I am also a judge for the Loyalty Magazine Awards.