Over the past decade, several major factors have significantly disrupted the retail and restaurant industries: including the evolution of eCommerce, the rise of social media, and most significantly, mobile devices and the broader mobile channel. All of these channels – as well as the insights into consumer behaviors they provide – have influenced loyalty marketers and the way they design their campaigns and programs.
Examining the restaurant and retail sectors specifically, two industries that were already heavily social, these trends have created more opportunities for increased customer engagement through social media channels, location-based messaging, ramification and innovative rewards structures. And, with digital and mobile playing an integral part in consumer purchasing decisions, omnichannel loyalty is shaping the consumer experience.
Other key trends include Millennials, the generation of younger consumers whose lives are driven by technology. Spending
a collective $600 billion in-store and online each year, marketers are using trends in technology to capture their
attention. With innovations like Google Glass and the SmartWatch becoming part of Millennials’ daily wardrobe, analysts
predict that wearable technology sales will reach 90 million units in 2014 and more than 485 million by 2018.
Looking back (and ahead), other technologies have taken what was once a predominately brick-and-mortar shopping or
dining experience and transformed them into a virtual experience heavily controlled by the consumer. A large factor in
this change is the mobile device, now ubiquitous across every demographic and consumer spending category.
In this Kobie Quarterly Review: Restaurant and Retail Edition, our goal is to educate those responsible for developing
and running loyalty programs about the trends impacting loyalty today, with a focus on retail loyalty trends and the
innovations, challenges and opportunities facing restaurant customer loyalty and rewards programs. Within these two
industries, we highlight successful programs and the methodology behind them; looking at the impact of Millennial
shoppers and diners and how they are slowly creating a societal shift in loyalty and consumerism.
Taking all that we’ve seen and learned so far this year, as loyalty marketers, our collective goal should be to integrate the
most effective technologies, look closely at our program design and think deeply about how well we know our customers
– and if we’re truly rewarding them.
As you read through this report, there is one ultimate truth we hope you take with you: With customer preferences
constantly in flux, and today’s technology becoming tomorrow’s news, loyalty marketers should understand that real
customer loyalty depends on how willing you are to adapt to the change.