Tag: digital rewards

the first club™ is excited to announce Movie streaming to the millions of Digital Reward choices it offers on its worldwide Enterprise Loyalty platform

London, Tuesday 16th February, 2016 – the first club™, today announced the addition of Movies as new content category on its worldwide Enterprise level rewards platform. the first club™ is constantly increasing its digital reward offering to meet the needs of its Clients, and Movies will add more than 6,000 titles per country to the rapidly expanding catalogue. Content can be streamed on a range of devices, offering hours of high quality entertainment redeemed for any rewards currency. The category is currently available in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain and will soon also be released in Ireland, Belgium and Austria. The long term goal of the first club™ is to provide massive value to benefit its Clients loyalty and corporate incentive programs and offer their customers the widest range of instant digital content redeemable to almost any device worldwide.

 

the first club™, the leading global Thank You platform, is considered one of the most innovative and advanced companies in the loyalty and rewards space, delivering millions of compelling digital rewards worldwide, including the latest music tracks, eMagazines, eBooks, audio books, software, apps and games, and with the new addition of Movies it will give Clients more options for acquisition, engagement and retention strategies to acknowledge their Customers and Employees.

 

As more companies turn to digital content to reward their top employees, the first club™ is privileged to have worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The rewards industry is constantly changing in response to an evolving consumer market, and believes that the coming year will see instant, digital rewards such as Movie streaming growing in popularity among corporate incentive programs.

 

Denis Huré, its CEO says: “We have redefined the notion of Digital Rewards, and are pushing it to the next level. Films are a natural addition to our catalogue and as always we focus on getting the best catalogue available anywhere in the world. 2016 is a turning point for our company, we will add more content in more countries faster than at any time before.”

 

About TFC International, Ltd.
the first club™ is a worldwide digital content distribution solution particularly dedicated to rewards as a loyalty solution where consumers can access the very latest in digital content, including over 60 million choices in music, software, games, eBooks and Audio Books, mobile apps and now films in return for redeeming rewards instantly in multiple currencies. The solution has been specifically designed to enhance loyalty reward programs, corporate incentives and sales promotions giving unique access to the entertainment world on a global scale. TFC International, Ltd., founded in 2002, has its headquarters in the UK, with offices in the UK, France and the United States.

 

For more information, please visit our B2B site at www.thefirstclub.net, or the first club™ white label consumer site, www.thefirstclub.com.

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© 2016 TFC International Ltd. All rights reserved.

5 must haves for loyalty in eCommerce

Sodexo Partners with the first club to Expand Offering Worldwide

London – 5th, November 2013the first club™ a global leader in digital rewards and loyalty solutions, is expanding their partnership with Sodexo Benefits and Reward Services for their new reward platform. This partnership will provide Sodexo’s clients across the globe the ability to add millions of choices of instant digital rewards to their corporate reward and incentive offering.
Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services provide access to a wide range of customized and innovative services that improve the quality of life of beneficiaries, including employees, students and public benefits recipients. Because they improve daily life, promote work-life balance and recognize effort, these solutions have a positive effect on employee motivation and contribute to improving the performance of companies and organizations. Instantly rewarding users with their favourite music, eBooks, audio books, apps, games, software and movies will further deepen their engagement and boost their motivation.
Denis Huré, Co-founder and CEO of the first club™ states, “We look forward to providing Sodexo clients to opportunity to add digital rewards to their incentive programs. We think it will improve the customer’s journey and deepen their engagement with the program by enabling them to access rewards instantly.”
Frederic Woitrin, International Catalogue Manager for Sodexo states, “adding digital rewards to our offer reinforces Sodexo’s capacity to provide attractive gifts to the users of our clients’ incentive and recognition programs worldwide. Digital rewards will add a new, modern user experience to Sodexo’s global capacity to manage worldwide incentive and recognition programs by allowing users to access their reward instantly.”

As more companies turn to digital rewards to reward top employees, the first club™ is privileged to have worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The rewards industry is constantly changing in response to an evolving consumer market, and the first club™ is excited to stay on the cutting edge of instant rewards by adapting to consumer trends.

Fully Responsive Site – now live!

responsive

As mobile browsing grows in popularity among consumers, the first club™ recognised the need for a fully responsive web design on its white label download site, thefirstclub.com. Optimized for browsing on mobile phones, tablets, laptop and desktop screens, the first club™ is ready to meet you where you are.
The new site gives consumers the ability to browse the catalogue of music, games, eBooks, audio books, software, mobile apps, and soon digital magazines from any device with a web browser. Consumers can download digital content to their computers and sync it to their mobile devices. Future releases of the responsive site will include the ability to download content directly to a mobile device. iOS devices will still require content to be downloaded and synced from a computer due to restrictions from Apple preventing any downloads outside of iTunes.

 

Anthony Chambers, head of Development at the first club™, says, “the Responsive Design Project is one we have been working on for a while, and we are excited to see consumers’ reactions to the upgrade. Mobile usage is a growing trend in the consumer technology industry, and we are happy to keep up with consumer needs by implementing the most cutting-edge technology.”

 

the first club™ prides itself on being the first worldwide digital rewards platform on the marketplace. The new responsive site presents clients of the first club™ with the opportunity to convert their digital rewards sites to the responsive format.

 

Denis Huré, CEO of the first club™, says, “We are excited to see our clients eager to adopt the new version of our digital download platform. Responsive Design is a huge upgrade to our mobile browsing experience, and our clients recognize the great value that presents to their customers.”

 

As more companies turn to digital rewards to reward their loyal customers and employees, the first club™ is privileged to have worked with some of the world’s most prestigious brands. The rewards industry is constantly changing to adapt to an evolving consumer market, and the first club™ believes that the coming year will see instant, digital rewards growing in popularity among loyalty, rewards and corporate incentive programs.

 

Consumers Want Loyalty (Rewards)

What kind of rewards does your loyalty program offer? Consumers are enrolled in an average of 7.4 loyalty or rewards programs, but according to Maritz, they actively participate in just 4.7% of them. How are you engaging your customers to make your program part of that 4.7%?

Instant rewards, such as digital downloads of music, eBooks, software, etc., are on the rise in consumer popularity and increase redemption by offering low-level rewards. Learn more about how we can help your loyalty program engage customers with our fully customizable digital rewards platform here.

Article below originally from Direct Marketing News.

U.S. consumers have a desire for more loyalty cards in their wallets—even though they use only half of the programs they’re enrolled in now, according to the newly released study: “Maritz Loyalty Report™: U.S. Edition,” which examines brand loyalty across six different industries.More than seven in 10 of the 6,000 surveyed consumers said they had room for additional loyalty programs, even though the currently participate in an average of only 4.7 percent of the 7.4 programs in which they are enrolled, according to Bob Macdonald, president and CEO of Maritz Loyalty Marketing.

Only 35 percent of respondents were active in all of the programs in which they were enrolled, while 47 percent stopped participating in one or more programs in the past year. This high percentage of drop offs illustrates the importance of keeping customers engaged in loyalty programs, says Scott Robinson, Maritz Loyalty Marketing senior director of loyalty consulting. “Sixty-seven percent will modify where and when they buy and half will change brands depending on a loyalty program’s benefits.”

So, it’s essential that marketers recognize what will engage customers in a program and what will cause them to actively leave the program or to passively quit using it, Robinson notes. “Marketers can’t afford to outspend each other,” he says. “They can’t rely on enrollment discounts to maintain engagement. They need to focus on creating an experience.”

For example, loyalty programs should offer special experiences such as free upgrades, preferred seating, and similar benefits designed to meet customers’ desires and go beyond simple discounting, according to Macdonald.

The report’s best programs in this regard, based on customer satisfaction scores, were:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards, (84 percent) financial services
  • Kroger Rewards (83 percent), grocery
  • Carmike Cinemas Rewards (79 percent), entertainment
  • Kohl’s Rewards (73 percent), retail
  • IHG Priority Club Rewards (67 percent), hospitality
  • Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards (58 percent), airlines

Beyond an engaging program, other essential elements of a successful loyalty program focus on communications and balancing those communications with the customers’ desire for privacy, Robinson notes. Ninety-four percent of those surveyed said they want to receive communications from loyalty programs, but only 53 percent said that the communications that they receive are relevant. A program’s delivery of relevant communications is closely tied to participant satisfaction, according to Robinson, citing the marketing axiom of the right message needing to be delivered to the right customer at the right time. Using the right channel and the right context are equally important.

Loyalty program participants are open to more frequent communications as long as they’re relevant, Robinson adds, pointing to the study’s findings that only 12 percent of loyalty program participants say they get too many messages. But one member’s communication frequency and channel preferences may be far different from another’s, so marketers need to pay close attention to those differences and recognize that preferences change. Consequently, marketers need to stay abreast of individual customers’ communication preferences.

Similarly, to be effective, loyalty marketers need to determine the amount of personal information that a customer is comfortable with sharing and with the company using. Some customers like the idea of a company using previous purchases to make offers, while other consumers find this “creepy and weird,” Robinson says, adding that Maritz has developed a “cool to creepy” index for loyalty program communications.

What do you think? Share and comment below!

7 Customer Loyalty Programs That Actually Add Value

by Kendal Peiguss.

According to Inc.it costs a business about 5-10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to sell to an existing one — and on average those current customers of yours spend 67% more than a new one. So, what are you doing to keep your customers coming back to your business? If you’re like 65% of marketers, your company has implemented a loyalty program. But is it working? According to the 2011 Colloquy Customer Loyalty Census, of the $48 billion worth of perceived value in reward points and miles distributed by American businesses annually, one-third goes unredeemed by consumers. Companies lose money on time and effort, and customers get no more value from the businesses to which they are “loyal.”

So how do you keep your business out of that one-third segment? How do you convey enough additional value in your programs to keep your customers coming back? It’s time for marketers to look beyond convoluted rewards systems and offer actual value to customers using their loyalty program. To get you started, here are some ideas for customer loyalty programs that might work for your business.

7 Customer Loyalty Program Ideas for Your Business

1) Use a Simple Points System

This is the most common loyalty program methodology. Frequent customers earn points, which translate into some type of reward. Whether it’s a discount, a freebie, or special customer treatment, customers work toward a certain amount of points to redeem their reward. Where many companies falter in this method, however, is making the relationship between points and tangible rewards complex and confusing. Fourteen points equals one dollar, and twenty dollars earns 50% off your next purchase in April! That’s not rewarding, that’s a headache. If you opt for a points-based loyalty program, keep the conversions simple and intuitive.

One example of a company using a points-based loyalty program well is Boloco. They speak the language of their audience by measuring points in dollars, and rewards in food items. Customers swipe their stylish Boloco card at every purchase and the card tracks the amount of money spent. Every $50 spent earns the customer a free item. Doesn’t matter if they choose a super jumbo burrito or an extra small smoothie – it’s free after $50. This is an example of a company simplifying points with an accessible customer reward system.

Although a points system is perhaps the most common form of loyalty programs, it isn’t applicable to all business types — this type of loyalty program is most appropriate for businesses that encourage frequent, short-term purchases.

2) Use a Tier System to Reward Initial Loyalty and Encourage More Purchases

Finding a balance between attainable and desirable rewards is a challenge for most companies designing loyalty programs. One way to combat this is to implement a tiered system. Offer small rewards as a base offering for being a part of the program, and encourage repeat customers by increasing the value of the rewards as the customer moves up the loyalty ladder. This helps solve the problem of members forgetting about their points and never redeeming them because the time between purchase and gratification is too long.

Virgin Airlines’ Flying Club inducts members at the Club Red tier, then bumps them up through Club Silver and Club Gold. Club Red members earn miles on flights and get discounts on rental cars and hotels. Club Silver members earn 50% more points on flights, expedited check-in, and priority stand-by seating. Club Gold members get double miles, priority boarding, and access to exclusive clubhouses where they can grab a drink or get a massage before their flight. The key is to offer benefits in the early stages to hook the customer into coming back. Once they do, they’ll realize that “gold” status isn’t unattainable, and offers really cool benefits.

The difference between points and tiered systems is that customers extract short-term versus long-term value from the loyalty program. You may find tiered programs work better for high commitment, higher price-point businesses like airlines, hospitality businesses, or insurance companies.

3) Charge an Upfront Fee for VIP Benefits

Loyalty programs are meant to break down barriers between customers and your business — are we seriously telling you to charge them a fee? In some circumstances, a one-time (or annual) fee that lets customers bypass common purchase blockers is actually quite beneficial for business and customer alike. By identifying the factors that may cause customers to leave, you can customize a fee-based loyalty program to address those specific barriers.

In 2011, eCommerce shopping cart abandonment hit a record high of 72%, and is still rising. This abandonment is often caused by “sticker shock” after tax and shipping prices have been applied. ECommerce giant Amazon found a way to combat this issue in their loyalty program called Prime. For $79 annually, Prime users get free 2-day shipping on millions of products with no minimum purchase, among other benefits.

This program is innovative because it charges loyal customers while providing enough in return for those frequent shoppers to realize the benefits. Analysts estimate that Amazon actually loses about $11 annually for each Prime subscriber, but makes up for it in increased transaction frequency that would not have otherwise happened without their exclusive benefits.

Clearly this system is most applicable to businesses that thrive on frequent, repeat purchases. For an upfront fee, your customers are relieved of inconveniences that could impede future purchases. Amazon has mastered this for eCommerce, but this loyalty program model also has potential to work for B2B businesses who deliver products to businesses on a regular basis.

4) Structure Non-Monetary Programs Around Your Customer’s Values

Really understanding your customer means understanding their values and sense of worth. And depending on your industry, your customers may find more value in non-monetary or discounted rewards. Every company can offer promotional coupons and discount codes, but businesses that can provide value to the customer in ways other than dollars and cents have an opportunity to really connect with their audience.

Patagonia, an eco-friendly outdoor apparel company, realized that their customer needed more than just points and discounts from a loyalty program. Late last year, the company implemented its Common Threads Initiative. In it, they partnered with eBay to help customers to resell their highly-durable Patagonia clothing online through the company website.

This program builds on their brand of sustainability and creating a high-quality product, and it matches perfectly with the company’s customer persona by providing a value that they really care about. So before implementing a loyalty program of this nature, be sure you’ve researched and designed an in-depth customer persona!

5) Partner With Another Company to Provide All-Inclusive Offers

Strategic partnerships for customer loyalty, also known as coalition programs, can be extremely effective for customer retention and company growth. Again, fully understanding your customers every-day lives and their purchase process will help determine which company is a good fit as a partner.

American Express has a huge partner base with companies across the country. Their recentTwitter Sync campaign rewards customers for tweeting about them by syncing discounts and deals with Twitter #hashtags. According to Visibli.com, cardholders have redeemed over $2,000,000 in rewards. Participating companies that are benefitting from their coalition with Amex include Whole Foods, Staples, and Zappos.

For example, if you’re a dog food company, partner with a veterinary office or pet grooming facility to offer co-branded deals for mutual benefits for your company and your customer. The target audience obviously owns a dog, so any services that dog will require offer added value from your company. Providing customers with value beyond even what your company can offer will show that you understand them, and grows your network to reach your partners’ customers, as well.

6) Make a Game Out of It

Who doesn’t love a good game, right? Turning your loyalty program into a game is a fun way to encourage repeat customers and, depending on the type of game you choose, help solidify your brand’s image.

GrubHub, an online food ordering and delivery website, started Yummy Rummy late last year. Once customers place three unique orders through GrubHub, regardless of price, they get to play a game for a chance of winning free stuff. Players choose one of four cards and have a 25% chance of winning a free dessert, drink, gift card or other cool stuff.

It’s important that customers understand you’re not duping them out of rewards, though. The odds should be no lower than 25% and the purchase requirements to play should be attainable. This type of loyalty program has potential to backfire if customers feel like your company’s jerking them around to win business. Executed properly, however, this type of program could work for almost any type of company, even an off-the-beaten-path B2B company. If your audience enjoys having a little fun and purchases frequently, this type of program can make the buying process fun and engaging.

7) Scratch the ‘Program’ Completely

Considering how many marketers are offering loyalty programs (whether they are effective or not is another story), one innovative idea is to nix the idea all-together. Build loyalty by providing first-time users awesome benefits, hooking them, and offering those benefits with every purchase.

The concept sounds simple, but one of the most innovative companies on the planet implements this strategy: Apple. Even the most loyal Apple customers don’t get special rewards or discounts … because they don’t offer them to anybody. Apple “enchants” customers by delighting them with a product or service the first time. The loyalty is voluntary and long-lasting, according to Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki. Apple has plenty of supporters, both online and off, ready and willing to rave about their product. For them, loyalty happen organically.

This minimalist approach works best for companies whose products or services are unlike any other. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you offer the lowest price, or the best quality, or most convenience — I’m talking about redefining a category. If, like Apple, your company is pioneering a new product or service, a loyalty program may not be necessary. Customers will be loyal because there are few other options as spectacular as you, and you have communicated that value from your first interaction.

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Loyalty Program

As with any initiative you implement, there needs to be a way to measure your marketing success. Customer loyalty programs should increase customer happiness and retention; and there are ways to measure these things besides in rainbows and sunshine. A lot of ways, actually. Different companies and programs call for different analytics, but here are a few of the most common metrics companies watch when rolling out loyalty programs.

Customer Retention Rate: This metric is an indication of how long customers stay with you. With a successful loyalty program, this number should increase over time as the number of loyalty program members grows. Run an A/B test against program members and non-program customers to determine the overall effectiveness of the loyalty initiative. According to Fred Reichheld, author of the Loyalty Effecta 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25-100% increase in profit for your company.

Negative Churn: Churn is the rate at which customers leave your company; negative churn, therefore, is a measurement of customers who do the opposite — upgrade, or purchase additional services. These help to offset the natural churn that goes on in most businesses. Depending on the nature of your business and loyalty program, especially if you opt for a tiered loyalty program, this is an important metric to track.

Net Promoter Score: NPS is a customer satisfaction metric that measures, on a scale of 1-10, the degree to which people would recommend your company to others.

NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors (customers who would not recommend your product) from percentage of promoters (customers who would recommend you). The fewer detractors, the better. Improving your net promoter score is one way to establish benchmarks, measure customer loyalty over time, and calculate the effects of your loyalty program. A great NPS score is over 70% — your loyalty program can help get you there!

Customer Effort Score: CES asks customers, “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to solve a problem with the company?” Some companies are vying for this metric over NPS because it measures actual experience rather than the emotional delight of the customer. A Harvard Business Review study found that 48% of customers who had negative experiences with a company told 10 or more people. In this way, customer service impacts both customer acquisition and customer retention. If your loyalty program addresses customer service issues, like expedited requests, personal contacts, or free shipping, this may be one way to measure its success.

Low-level redemption is certainly a great way to retain your initial customers! Learn more about how we can help with that by implementing our fully customizable digital rewards platform into your loyalty program.

What do you think? Does your loyalty program utilize any of these strategies? Leave us a comment below!

Original document from Hubspot.

IHG commits to free internet for all loyalty members worldwide; renaming Priority Club Rewards to IHG Rewards Club

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) has announced that it will be providing free internet to all its 71m loyalty program members, worldwide. The announcement comes as IHG reveals the results of a global online survey which show that nearly half of adults (43%) would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.

IHG will offer free internet in all hotels to all loyalty program members, globally – whether they stay the night or come in for a coffee or an impromptu meeting. It will benefit millions of guests globally as IHG has the most rooms and is in more countries than any one of the other four largest hotel companies in the world. This will start from July 2013 for Elite members and extend to all members during 2014.

The move comes as IHG announces that it will be enhancing and renaming its industry-leading loyalty program Priority Club Rewards as IHG Rewards Club in July and introducing a range of new benefits for members.

Internet access is increasingly important to hotel guests and a key consideration when planning their hotel stays. New research commissioned by IHG reveals that:

  • 43% of adults surveyed said that they would choose not to stay in a hotel that charged for internet.
  • 23% of respondents said that free internet in rooms and throughout the hotel is the most important amenity when staying in a hotel for business, compared to 7% who chose room service.
  • Travellers from China placed the most importance on online connectivity – with nearly half (47%) listing it as the most important thing to them when staying in a hotel for business, followed by those from Russia (26%), the US (23%) and India (22%).
  • Travellers from the UK (18%) and the US (14%) both listed paying for internet as the second most annoying thing when staying at a hotel after noisy guests (22% and 24% respectively).
  • Globally, more female respondents (14%) say free internet throughout the hotel is most important to them when staying for leisure, compared to 2% who listed having an in-room hairdryer.

From July, new benefits will include:

  • free internet to all Elite status members from July 2013 and extending to all members during 2014;
  • the ability to earn Elite status faster by staying in three or more of IHG’s hotel brands;
  • Reward Nights will count toward earning Elite status; and
  • Platinum Elite members’ “extra” nights will roll over toward maintaining their status in their next membership year

Original document from Colloquy.

Is loyalty a missed marketing opportunity for mid-sized retailers?

By Mark Croxton, managing director, UK&I, Aldata

Organisations have been taking advantage of loyalty schemes ever since the Co-operative (or the ‘Rochdale Pioneers Society’ as it was known then) launched its dividends scheme in 1844. The most notable loyalty system today is probably the Tesco Clubcard, started in the mid 90’s by Grant Harrison and Dunnhumby. Schemes continue to evolve, with Debenhams recently announcing a loyalty system using an iPhone app, helping the brand to interact directly with customers via their phone handsets.

According to the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, it is recognised that when loyalty scheme members are happy with the benefits of a programme, they will be less fussy about in-store prices, and more likely to return to the store and provide repeat business .

However, these days consumers are targeted with a variety of cards, vouchers, offers, membership deals and subscription-only loyalty schemes. Many of these soon become ineffective as consumers sign up to gain the benefits, but simply receive mass-mailed marketing and general, non-specific promotions.

A problem of size?

Although many loyalty programmes do function well, there is a perception that these are only run by large companies; smaller organisations are limited to ‘cards to get stamped’ to get a free beverage, for example. Indeed, many mid-sized retailers have hesitated over getting into loyalty because of the perceived barriers to entry. Many retailers believe that loyalty systems, with their complex tracking and prediction algorithms, are both difficult and expensive to implement.

But let us take a step back for a moment. There are many mid-sized organisations which are better suited to loyalty schemes by virtue of their specialism or the nature of their services. Small hotel chains, for example, are in regular physical contact with their customers, presenting a strong opportunity for a bespoke scheme and tailored communications. They also gather a wealth of data via bookings systems, which they could potentially feed into loyalty systems, providing customers with offers which exactly suit their requirements – or offer them new opportunities, encouraging new visits and building up the store relationship with the customer.

Loyalty schemes can certainly help these mid-sized players compete with their larger rivals andengage with existing customers. A tailored experience and custom-fit offers can go a long way to make customers return to the store again and again. It also offers a way of testing new products and services with existing loyal customers, or cross- and up-selling. Tesco’s Clubcard, for example, makes no secret that although most of the discount vouchers sent out are for already-purchased items, two out of every six are for items related to existing purchases, expanding sales opportunities.

A new wave of accessible loyalty

As we have said, many small retailers and organisations believe loyalty systems to be inaccessible because of the cost barriers. However, this is far from the truth – with the latest wave of ‘Software as a Service’ offerings, companies can purchase ‘pay as you go’ access to loyalty solution, based on a rental, rather than purchase model, eliminating many of the costly outgoings.

Indeed, Finlandia (a chain of boutique independent hotels in Finland) is using a highly effective loyalty programme, and pays for its loyalty software based on the number of customer sign-ups to the scheme. Finlandia also charges customers €26 for its loyalty card for three years, so the procedure is quite painless from a budgetary point of view.

Once organisations do overcome the perceived barriers, loyalty schemes not only increase customer ‘stickiness’ but also enable organisations to engage with customers, improving brand experience both in-store and out. It can also act as a catalyst for business and a safety net in adverse times.

Today’s need for loyalty

To put this in context, customers included in Finlandia’s loyalty scheme currently account for 5-25% of turnover. During the downturn, overall sales dipped by 20%, but sales from customers in the loyalty scheme only dropped 10%, clearly showing the value of such a scheme properly executed.

Although retailers can hesitate over loyalty schemes, mid-sized retailers should not flinch from the opportunities which they can present. In fact, with many of the issues now a question of perception, rather than of fact, and with a loyal customer often making the difference between a lean year and a good year, now is certainly the time to get involved.

Original post from Ulta Marketing.

How Red Letter Days strengthened its affiliate programme

Background

Gift experience retailer Red Letter Days has been running an affiliate programme for five years. The affiliate channel has been a major focus for the organisation over the past few years and significant effort has been invested in growing this channel. In 2008 the programme was expanded to a second network, thereby increasing the overall presence of the Red Letter Days brand across the affiliate industry as a whole.

For Red Letter Days one of the main aims was to focus on consolidating affiliate relationships, and to continue to motivate affiliates to promote the Red Letter Days programme by engaging with them on an individual basis. The overall objective was to increase affiliate sales turnover by 15% in 2010.

Strategy

In the last few years Red Letter Days has seen its affiliate programme go from strength to strength; from a channel that only contributed 12% of total online sales, it has grown to a programme that now accounts for 30% of all its online sales.

Red Letter Days felt it was important not to neglect the foundation their success had been built on, or the affiliates who helped them achieve this. So its strategy focused on forging closer than ever relationships with its affiliate partners – both by getting out to meet them in face-to-face meetings and by building on its already thriving its incentive scheme to encourage greater than ever affiliate activity.

Implementation

In 2010 Red Letter Days hosted its first official affiliate day. The day was designed to bring Red Letter Days closer to their affiliates and to give them a chance to get closer to the brand by trying out some of the experiences offered by Red Letter Days.

It also set out to meet as many affiliate partners throughout the year. These were not necessarily the top performers but affiliates that Red Letter Days had considered significant contributors to their success. Meeting their affiliates would give the retailer a better understanding the challenges they faced and find out what could be done to improve the performance of their programme.

Red Letter Days had already been running a quarterly incentive scheme since 2009, giving affiliates the opportunity to push themselves through sales tiers to receive their desired prize. As the quarterly incentive scheme had been running for a couple of years, Red Letter Days had to ensure that it had an even more attractive proposal for their main Q4 Christmas campaign.

For Q4 2010, Red Letter Days offered affiliates the chance to win a trip to South Africa. The holiday was determined by a prize draw, but with a twist. Affiliates earned tickets into the draw in return for fulfilling certain criteria e.g. uploading a particular type of creative, or selling a particular product, rather than the traditional model of rewarding revenue generation alone.

Red Letter Days announced new ways to earn extra tickets into the draw on a weekly basis from October to December, to keeping affiliates continually engaged with the Christmas campaign. The winner was announced on YouTube in the form of a video showing the final draw.

Meanwhile Red Letter Days also honed its voucher code offering. The use of voucher codes has always been an issue at the forefront of the affiliate industry. Red Letter Days tackled this by developing a solution that displayed or hid the basket promo code box based on the type of referring affiliate. This ensured that customers driven from non-voucher code sites would not see the box (and therefore not be prompted to search for a voucher code), whereas visitors from a voucher code site would see the box.

The next stage of this development incorporated the embedding of a “deal id” in the inbound URL, allowing Red Letter Days to create bespoke deals for individual affiliates. The “deal id” was associated with the affiliate id therefore making it impossible for another affiliate to replicate the offer. Deals can only be obtained by clicking through from the relevant affiliate site, therefore giving the affiliate’s customer a higher call to action and ensuring that the customer returns to the affiliate site to activate the deal; creating stickiness and loyalty.

Results

Through strong communication and close partnerships the Red Letter Days programme continues to grow; the number of active affiliates contributing to this success has increased by 300%.

Between 2009 and 2010 online sales through the affiliate channel grew by 20%. In 2010 the average affiliate basket size grew by 20%, from £90 to £108. URL based deals has driven an increase of 212% in traffic and 68% in revenue from content sites.

Original document from Ulta Marketing.

Building loyalty in the mobile era

by ICLP Loyalty

The world is arguably undergoing one of the greatest media transformations in history. While the internet has been an evolutionary and revolutionary step, thanks largely to Apple, the mobile device has turned into a personal computer in the consumer’s pocket – and one which is always available and always turned on – offering marketers a whole new gateway to new and stronger customer relationships, according to Garret Ippolito of MasterCard.

We live a mobile lifestyle. This lifestyle has been fueled by the near ubiquitous penetration of messaging devices. You can’t escape it. Video screens are talking to you in the elevator, when pumping petrol or riding in a city taxi. How we consume media has fundamentally changed. Marketers have been treading slowly into the mobile pool. But we are at a point where it is critical to engage customers via the mobile device, creating whole new ways to experience your loyalty programme and enhance its value.

The number of global mobile subscribers is now at least double the number of global internet users and, as mobile internet usage penetration increases, these figures are starting to converge. In Western Europe and North America, the market has already hit a 3G penetration inflection point (3G being the technology backbone upon which smart phones operate). As such, the mobile era has truly arrived. The key question, then, becomes whether or not marketers can risk others solidifying customer relationships, or should they do it themselves?

World demographics are also rapidly changing. In East Asia, up to 60% of some country’s populations are under the age of 30. In the US, the second fastest growing age segment is under 35. Much of the online usage changes we are witnessing are being driven by the younger generation (for example, Twitter, Hulu, Shop Savvy, and FourSquare). This demographic is also the most mobile savvy. On Facebook alone, there are more than 65 million active mobile users (incredibly, 1 million users commented on their friends’ status changes via mobile handsets within the first 24 hours of this feature’s launch). This is a testament to the power of the mobile channel. But no one in the loyalty arena has yet locked in their relationship with this up-and-coming, mobile-savvy demographic. This is clearly an opportunity for loyalty practitioners.

So, in venturing into the mobile realm, it is critical not to have your mobile strategy dictated by the technology itself. Many mobile strategies go astray as companies do not fully understand how their customers use their mobile devices, instead adopting tactics merely because they want to be first, because their competitors are active in the space, or because it is seen as being ‘trendy’. Rather choose a strategy and tactics that support your business goal of solidifying customer relationships.

Original document from Ulta Marketing.