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3 Trends in Loyalty Marketers Need to Know

Consumer loyalty is ever evolving. Loyalty in 2021 requires marketers to not only provide great offers and rewards, but also offer enticing experiences. Consumers expect their loyalty programs to be available via their preferred way of communicating with program details and offers accessible in seconds.

With mobile adoption rapidly growing, here are the three trends in loyalty marketers need to pay attention to.


Loyalty Audience Acquisition

We’re seeing a large shift in loyalty acquisition to broaden and capture a wide reach of a brand’s consumer base. Brands are making it easier to join a loyalty program – these days it is as simple as texting into a program or providing a phone number at check out. SMS boost engagements by its interactive opt-in nature; the consumer opt-ins and verifies their interest in the program. That two-way active engagement between consumer and brand makes it easier for them to earn points and rewards, driving activation and retention -  U.S. consumers are members of 14 loyalty programs but only active in 6, on average signaling a gap between acquisition and activation.

Brands can build initial engagement through a welcome offer. Consumers love the ability to opt into the loyalty program at Point of Sale and earn an initial welcome.  This early engagement allows consumers to see the rewards they can earn right off the bat. In fact, 85% of consumers enjoy earning rewards because it makes them “feel awesome.” Making consumers feel valued and awesome right away builds trust and investment in the brand.

Another trend we’ve seen grow in adoption this year is offering paid premium programs or status. Over 80% of millennials and 68% of non-millennials report interest in joining their favorite brands’ paid programs for valuable perks. Of that, 80% say being satisfied with the perks would encourage them to stay with the brand and even refer their friends. Using Mobile Wallets to deliver these premium cards - designed and personalized exclusively for those members - is a great way to incorporate new technology with growing consumer demands.

At Vibes, we offer several features to help brands capitalize on this trend:

  • Easy calls-to-action - Get in front of consumers with pop-up windows, banners, POS displays, and other high-traffic areas to build loyalty audience fast.
  • Dedicated mobile pages - Collect data for personalization with dedicated mobile page forms, sent anywhere as a shortened trackable link (social media, website, SMS, and email)
  • Personalized Wallet loyalty cards and rewards - Deliver personalized loyalty cards and rewards immediately via SMS to be added to consumers wallets for easy use


Broaden Loyalty Benefits & Earn Potential

Consumers are channel-surfers. Brands should meet consumers where they are with seamless omnichannel experiences. If a consumer uses social media, incentivize them to earn extra points for linking social profile. If a loyalty program lives within the brand's app, ask a consumer for their mobile number in order to send SMS loyalty reminders and deliver an updated mobile wallet point balances in real time. Broadening how a customer can earn points will encourage their loyalty across channels and allows the marketer to offer more relevant timely content.

Reminders are another effective way to build loyalty. SMS is immediate communication, useful for delivering reward reminders, exclusive offers, and cart recovery.  Mobile Wallet lets customers easily access their point balance, be reminded of rewards when near a store location, and use their loyalty card when shopping to accrue more points. App is where the consumer can redeem their points, find and save important information, and house their consumer profile. Prompting consumers to use SMS, Wallet, and App together to increase their points and perks boosts engagement and further deepens loyalty.

Vibes’ product features to support broadened benefits and channel integrations include:

  • Push Notifications - Leverage timely and relevant messages via push notifications to increase engagement on a loyalty app and communicate personalized information to consumers
  • Automatic Loyalty Enrollment - Allow a consumer to automatically enroll for Loyalty program at Point of Sale with an NFC enabled loyalty card
  • Cart Recovery – Automatically SMS message customer when they leave an item in their ecommerce cart


Old Fashioned Good Service and Trust

Consumers top priority for loyalty is excellent customer service. In today’s world, that includes data privacy and compliance, personalization, exceptional service, and meeting consumers where they are – on their mobile device.

From Apple’s App Tracking Transparency update and the demise of the 3rd party cookie, ensuring consumer consent and gathering first-party data is vital for a brands’ loyalty program. Mobile’s opt-in model requires consumer consent and confirmation before joining the program. With a compliance-first mindset, mobile allows brands to safely collect and use consumer data to send personalized rewards. 87% of consumers are okay with brands tracking their activity if it leads to more personalized offers. Being able to deliver personalized rewards based on activity and preferences encourages repeat purchase behavior and boosts ROI.

Through all the changes of the past year, one thing remains – consumers want high-quality service when interacting with a brand. 77% of poor experiences that break trust involve post-purchase activity, such as delayed deliveries. With delivery and order status notices getting lost in email clutter, immediacy and reach of SMS allows brands to directly communicate with consumers. Everyone hates waiting on the phone; allowing consumers to text into a short code to ask questions or find quick information creates a deeper connection.

Vibes has over 20 years of experience with a deep understanding of mobile compliance and data privacy regulations. Compliance is built into our software – marketers will never need to question if they’re ‘doing it right’. With mobile subscriber profiles, intelligent data and analytics, and unrivaled speed through a Tier 1 carrier connection, Vibes helps brands deliver good service and trust with their consumers, because WE deliver good service and trust with our customers. In fact, we won a 2021 Stevie Silver for our Customer Success department and Stevie Bronze for our Customer Care team.

When it comes to loyalty, understanding consumer behavior and needs and leveraging mobile technology are keys for an effective program. In 2021, finding a partner to build and activate a loyalty program with is important and Vibes ensures our customers are compliant, trusted, and innovative – all things consumers want. To learn more about Vibes, talk to our sales team.


Further Reading:

Stop Buy Loyalty and Start Earning It 

How Lego Is Redefining Loyalty and Engagement 

Elevating the Curbside Pickup Experience With Mobile Communications 

About the Author

Laura Puckett is the Principal Product Manager at Vibes. Laura is an agile Product Owner/Business Analyst with 14+ years experience with mobile development, enterprise applications, e-commerce, and project management.

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