Enhancing the In-Store Shopping Experience With a Loyalty Program

Guest post from Antavo

In-store promotions are designed to attract customers to brick-and-mortar stores, build brand or product awareness and provide benefits that online shopping simply just cannot give them. If customers are not visiting the store they might be missing out on special promotions, discounts or free giveaways. 

Also when customers shop at a local business, they are strengthening the local economy as well. 

In order to compete with eCommerce, loyalty programs for physical stores have to be more than just membership cards. Creating a loyalty program is a great way to effectively strengthen your brand image, connect with your customers, improve your retention and drive more in-store sales. Following the pandemic touchless solutions are playing an essential role in the in-store experience. It is crucial that retailers show customers that they are invested in their safety as stores reopen.

Enroll Customers Into Your Loyalty Program In-Store In a Fun Way

Show customers how your in-store location is just as enjoyable as shopping online by:

  • Vivifying the thrills of shopping in person via allowing your customers to browse your online shop in your physical location 
  • Implementing click and collect 
  • Making sure your physical and digital stores work together
  • Letting your customers interact with your products 

Also, reward your returning customers with a loyalty program by offering discounts after a certain amount of visits, access to special in-store events and other perks. If they like the program they are more likely to recommend your store to friends and their families.  Special offers by push notifications, personalized offers will help you enhance brand experience. 

Bridge the gap between offline and online customer interactions with digital loyalty cards, which is an effective solution to boost in-store engagement and reach more customers through location-based messages, thereby driving multiple business KPIs.

Experiential Retail 

According to a study by Deloitte experience has become the differentiating factor for businesses. Over 50 percent of customers say that the overall enjoyment of the shopping experience was important when making their final decision. When customers visit a store and are offered experiences such as large video display walls, a cafe, kids’ corner, virtual reality they will want to return. All these create a memorable experience and soar customer expectations.

Retailers can engage with in-store customers by enriching the offline customer journey, by offering them fun, easy and convenient ways to interact with gamified features. For instance, an offline treasure hunt, where customers need to find marked treasures or products inside the store, then use their mobile to scan the item’s barcode for a reward. You can prompt customers to thoroughly inspect the whole store, ensuring that they discover products or sections they would have overlooked otherwise. Send customers a push notification inviting them to play a fun game and win rewards. A Prize Wheel is ideal for mobile apps if you prefer touchless engagement for in-store devices. Showcase the prize wheel on an in-store device to instantly catch customers’ attention. Customers can approach the wheel and take a spin, giving you a new way to engage them.

A Prize Wheel is ideal for mobile apps and for in-store devices as well.
After spinning the wheel and landing on a reward, customers are asked to log in or enroll in the loyalty program to redeem it. This ensures that they identify themselves while shopping.

QR Codes  

Implementing a touch-free solution like QR codes on brochures or on signages in different areas of the shop, on the counter or in the dressing rooms, is a great way to make customers aware of your loyalty program. You might consider putting a QR code on the tags of your most popular products, so customers can scan it with their phone and receive a reward in return such as a small gift at the counter or a sum of loyalty points. Make sure to let the customer know that upon scanning the QR code they get rewarded.

DSW, the American branded footwear and accessories retailer featured QR codes on their magazine ads to engage customers. When customers scan the QR code they are taken to the DSW’s mobile site, where they can find the store nearest to them to view the products in person, check their order status, view DSW’s rewards program, and redeem their loyalty points, or make a purchase then pick up their order curbside, completely contactless.

The visual design of Timberland’s Manhattan flagship store
The NFC technology helped Timberland increase customer engagement. The store could track, analyze and interpret their shoppers’ behavior

NFC Technology

NFC technology is a great way to spice up in-store customer engagement. With its help, you can create novel in-store experiences. It allows retailers to connect quickly and easily with customers at every step of the customer journey. In a loyalty program, NFC enables people to use their smartphones to interact with store-exclusive loyalty program features. 

In Timberland’s Manhattan flagship store around 50 percent of the store’s inventory had been equipped with NFC tags. Upon tapping information about the product came up on the screen. The NFC tag was integrated to collect data from the customer. The store started adding credit for customers who signed in on the tablets, adding an extra touch to the customized shopping experience.

Beacon Technology

Beacon technology boosts customer experience by increasing efficiency, providing money savings, convenience, inspiration, and personalization. With targeted ads and brand offers, notifications and greetings on special occasions, you can add value while increasing trust. With just a single beacon near the entrance of a store, you could send a promotional notification to the user whenever they enter it or track how many users come to the store in a specific timeframe. 

Target, the American retail corporation, is using beacon technology to help in-store customers to use Target’s app to create shopping lists, and then see where items are located in-store. As they move, their location changes in real-time, showing them whether they’re getting farther or closer to the product.

Target’s application will show your location on the map
The new Target application will actually show your own location on the map, as indicated by a blinking dot. As you move through the store, your location will update, too. (Source: TechCrunch

Introduce a Kiosk In-store

Self-service kiosks are a rising component of in-store technology. It gives customers the possibility to shop for both the physical and online product offerings. They help shoppers gather information and speed up the shopping process. In-store kiosks are also a great way to promote a loyalty program. You can either set up a kiosk where waiting customers typically gather or offer priority lanes as a members-only feature. It is also an excellent solution to make sure customers are entertained while standing in line. 

In order to help the customer as much as possible in finding products and to prevent lost sales, the ANWB,  a travelers’ association in the Netherlands, needed a new solution to offer customers products that are not yet in stock. The kiosk has almost the same performance as the webshop on a PC, but the navigation especially works in terms of visual language and icons.  By adding NFC technology to the kiosk retailers can ensure contactless touch screens for the customers making in-store shopping even safer in the post-pandemic world.

ANWB’s in-store kiosk makes sure that their full online catalog is accessible
With the in-store kiosk ANWB makes sure that their full online catalog is accessible. (Source: Kega)

Sales Associates

Obviously, human interaction has a great impact on a customer’s emotional connection to a retailer. It will be especially of outstanding significance following the pandemic when everyone is craving a return to normal face-to-face communication. Well-trained sales associates can help boost loyalty program membership rates, as one of the easiest ways to inform your customers about your loyalty program and how their today’s transaction will get them closer to earning exciting rewards.

The Douglas perfumery chain’s loyalty card, called the Beauty Card, makes it possible for the company to serve their customers in a much more personalized way both online and offline. Besides offering several benefits, such as birthday surprises, product samples and invitations to exclusive events. They also offer makeup refreshing, skincare services, and beauty tips in-store.

A sales associate is giving makeup tips to a customer in a Douglas store.
In Douglas stores, customers can collect Beauty Points on their Beauty Card with each purchase, regardless of where it takes place, at the brick-and-mortar store, online or via their smartphone. (Source: ixtenso)

Brick-and-Mortars Coming Back to Life

Following COVID-19 face-to-face interactions will be receiving an even greater emphasis, as customers are hungry for communication. As shopping has evolved dramatically over the past several decades, the competition between retailers is fiercer than ever. Customer buying behavior is constantly shifting, not only when it comes to in-store shopping but online shops have also joined the race for customers, providing them with more choice and convenience. 

Nevertheless, it is important not to overlook your stores as a crucial touchpoint in generating long-term customer loyalty. While customers are growing more comfortable with online shopping every day, the in-store experience isn’t going away anytime soon.


2021 Retail trends: 3 ways to generate repeat business with offerings that build on each other

Digital acceleration will be one of the most popular topics in the retail world in 2021.

Coming out of a pandemic-centric 2020, retailers expanded e-commerce capabilities, cultivated (and relied upon) core customers and became creative with customer fulfillment.

How they continue to improve and iterate on those solutions will determine how customers view them in the year ahead.

Layering these offerings so that they build on previous interactions and offerings will also help deepen the bond with your brand as shoppers build their lifestyle on the conveniences you afford them.

Here are 3 trends that can help you generate more repeat business by building on your customers’ needs .

Expanded service capabilities

Image: Karolina Grabowska

A one-time purchase can be converted into regular repeat purchases with the offer of subscription services. Subscription services provide customers products delivered to their doorstep with minimal effort.

Some subscriptions are predetermined; a subscription to a shaving club may mean automatic delivery of razor blades and shaving cream on a monthly basis.

Others might provide something unexpected, an assortment of athletic wear or a collection of spring shoes for different occasions, for example, curated especially for the customer.

During shelter-in-place orders implemented to stem the spread of COVID-19, such services became particularly popular with consumers who appreciated this type of expanded e-commerce capability.

According to Zuora’s Subscription Impact Report, a measure of the economic impact of COVID-19 on subscription businesses, subscription-based revenue continued to grow between March 1 and May 31, 2020, increasing at a 9.5% annual rate.

S&P 500 sales in Q1 2020 contracted at a -1.9% annual rate in the same quarter.

The key for companies will be to not only continue growing its subscriber numbers, but to also increase the average revenue per subscriber.

And that will require a focus on building customer relationships.

One way to do that is to offer incentives for brand loyalty.

Perks that build retail relationships

Image: Andrea Piacquadio

Some retailers have taken the past year to reevaluate their rewards programs.

As more customers were locked down, retailers saw foot traffic dwindle.

Statista found 52.7% of U.S. Internet users avoided stores due to COVID-19 in February 2020, and a virtually identical number, 52%, who reported shopping more online in May 2020.

Now more than ever, loyal customers need to know retailers are thankful for them and appreciate their business.

Smart retailers are examining the data collected from their loyalty programs and discovering more about the members, so they can tailor rewards that are extraordinary.

The result will be stronger bonds with customers, resulting in more sales and referrals in the future.

Customers who have been cooped up due to COVID-19 restrictions are also hungry for interaction.

Retailers are looking at video to help bridge the physical distance between customer and retailer.

Livestreaming with product and personality

Image: Lisa Fotios

With more than 24 million e-commerce sites vying for attention, using video via livestreaming is a way for retailers to differentiate their brands, even if it does seem a bit nostalgic of Home Shopping Network.

“Live commerce” brings together digital and physical shopping experiences.

While it’s a trend that became more popular as retailer’s faced slower foot traffic as a result of a global pandemic, it’s one that will continue in the years to come.

With livestreaming, or live commerce, customers watch a presentation on a product or service, coupled with a social element such as a video call or comments.

Content can be viewed within a retailer’s app, on a website, social media, etc.

The strategy, especially when coupled with a high-profile celebrity, can yield outstanding results.

For example, in November 2019, Kim Kardashian joined top Chinese influencer Viya Huang on her livestream channel and sold 15,000 bottles of her KKW fragrance in under an hour.

Not all retailers have such firepower available, but livestream events simply centered around “real users” could add the bit of differentiation some may need to jumpstart sales.

The “new normal” for retailers revolves around augmenting the familiar areas of customer experience.

By providing more convenience, working toward improving loyalty, differentiating their brands and working to transform themselves from old sales models, retailers can position themselves for success in 2021.


How Digital Communication is Giving Businesses a Boost This Holiday Season

The holiday season has arrived and while we can’t expect business to resemble years prior, there is a way retailers can make the most of it.

Customer experience matters now more than ever and everyone knows it! Many retailers are running promotions to attract business, and those without a means to directly communicate these promotions will struggle.

So how do you stand out from the crowd this holiday season?

Watch this webinar to see:

  • How to creatively use the Holidays as a means to gain shopper attraction
  • How to create a safety net for your business in the upcoming year
  • How businesses using AppCard for Retail Pro are able to personally connect with shoppers via SMS and Email