By Mario Toneguzzi
Brand and retailer loyalty practices are changing faster than ever and an upcoming event in Toronto, hosted by Leger, will present the most recent findings on Canada’s most extensive study in the area through its LoyalT report.
Conducted in collaboration with R3 Marketing, the LoyalT study is the only comprehensive annual performance study on Canadian loyalty programs, allowing brands to compare their program performance to that of competitors and the overall market. This is the third edition of the unique study.
Leger, the largest Canadian-owned, market research and analytics company, notes that the growth of the Millennial market, intensifying customer expectations, new technologies and digital players are forcing companies to develop more dynamic loyalty programs - programs that are relevant, adaptive and which make ongoing use of transactional data.
The event takes place June 20 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at One King West (The King Gallery). One of the guest speakers will be Alan Middleton (MBA, PhD, BSc, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Marketing; Executive Director Schulich Executive Education Centre), who specializes in brand marketing. Hans Laroche, an associate with R3 Marketing, will be speaking about retailer loyalty programs.
Michelle Carter, Senior Vice President, Leger, will talk about loyalty programs in general, where they came from and where brand loyalty fits within the mix of retailer loyalty. She will also highlight some generational differences when it comes to data transparency expectations.
“We’re looking forward to sharing some meaningful new insights from the report and discussing key industry trends with attendees,” said Carter. “Consumer expectations are changing and retailers are trying to stay ahead of the competition by coming up with programs that are increasingly more relevant to their customer base. With this study, we’re trying to help them pinpoint what is going to drive relevancy within their customer base.”
Attendees can also learn how to leverage the data in their business to drive customer engagement and loyalty.
Laroche notes that 10 – 15 years ago, loyalty programs tended to be found mainly at retailers where customers shop more frequently, such as every week or two (for example, pharmacies, gas stations, and supermarkets). These high frequency sectors continue to have successful loyalty programs. However, over time, more retailers and companies have developed loyalty programs (even if their customers tend to shop less frequently), for example, the restaurant industry in the United States, or the fashion industry.
Although this year’s special edition of the LoyalT report focuses on the pharmacy and the food industry, the expansion of loyalty programs means that the report is relevant for a wide variety of sectors.
This edition of the LoyalT report also includes an exploration of how players like Amazon and Costco impact pharmacy and supermarket retailers and explores some of the new fee-based programs like Amazon Prime and PC Insider. Laroche also noted that two very strong loyalty programs were launched in the past year (PC Plus joining with Optimum, and the introduction of Canadian Tire’s new program, Triangle).
Today, the trend in the retail industry is to make decisions based on data and if retailers don’t know their customers, and their shopping habits, it will become tougher and tougher to manage their business.
A key reason that retailers develop loyalty programs is to get access to data – specifically transactional data – to have a better understanding of what people buy, at what frequency, from what departments, and their preferences.
“If you’re a big retailer, there’s no way you can be competitive if you don’t have access to this type of transactional data. You learn how your customers shop, but you are also able to make some more relevant communications and offers in order to increase basket size and frequency... in fact, is a pretext to get access to data,” Laroche notes.
“Right now the most profitable retailers are the ones that are using transactional data and their strategy is all based on transactional data. What we’re seeing over the last 10 years is that they have a tendency to cut budgets in areas like soft and unmeasurable marketing space (such as sponsorship and traditional advertising), and are putting more and more money into relational marketing: knowing the data, getting the data and making offers based on consumer behaviour,” said Laroche.
Laroche notes that the real measure of the performance of a loyalty program is the behavioural aspect. With Leger, R3 developed a methodology to measure not only whether people would recommend the loyalty program but also whether they are engaged in the program.
“The best performing programs are those that change behaviour,” said Laroche.
Carter mentioned that historically, people have used an NPS (Net Promoter Score) to measure satisfaction or loyalty but today, to be successful, retailers need to be looking at a couple of different dimensions with respect to how their program is resonating with consumers.
“That’s what the study is aiming to achieve; measuring not only the program satisfaction, but whether it is really resonating with a retailer’s shoppers to such a degree that they are also changing their behaviours,” she said.
To register for this event, please visit the following link: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/loyalt-2019-tickets-62443973606