Most people think about loyalty in the same parameters that they do trust – a lifetime to build, a moment to break.
But our understanding of consumers has evolved alongside technology, as consumers have evolved alongside technology. The pace has undeniably changed. Instant gratification is now a currency in the loyalty game.
Customers demand instant gratification – not just because we live in the digital age, but because it feels so darn good. And that’s the sensation that virtual Visas offer. Make your customers feel good the moment after they complete the action you want to promote (i.e. make a big-ticket purchase) and they’ll do it time and time again.
In the loyalty game, this speed is a welcome change. Marketers are well aware of the importance of loyalty — it can (and does) cost 500 per cent more to find new customers than to retain current ones. Plus, loyal customers spend more – about 67 per cent more. The pressure to run a loyalty program that meets the needs of your consumers and adapts to the new attention economy (and does so within a tiny timeframe) is a pretty tough gig to hack, especially if you’ve been tasked with building a loyal customer base from the bare bones – there’s no roadmap.
Rewards Come True, Australia’s original provider of Eftpos gift cards, is an advocate for virtual Visas’ strategic role in the customer experience journey. It lays out a roadmap for customers that looks like this: for whatever behaviour you want to reward, a digital trigger is set, and virtual Visas is distributed via email. Say your customer hits a shopping cart goal or makes their 15th visit to your online store; the moment their transaction is processed, they are sent a $50 virtual Visa that they can spend on whatever they please. Any customer details gathered in that process are integrated into your CRM and form a meaningful addition to your broader customer experience strategy.
Rewards Come True has added these virtual forms of its original rewards cards to its repertoire, as it believes they are the fastest way to build out the behaviours you want from your audience. But the call for instant gratification is not the only one that is answered by the flexibility of virtual Visas.
They’re also an example of the way you can grow your database and actually action the data you already have, which is what most marketers are looking to do, anyway. Most marketers aren’t lacking in data – most of them just don’t feel that they’ve got time to make the most of it. Two-thirds of marketers are simply overwhelmed by the amount of data they have at their fingertips. Having more data doesn’t necessarily appeal to them.
Rewards Come True’s virtual Visas give simple, actionable ways to use existing data to hit marketing KPIs. One example they give that binds together instantaneity and utilisation of data involves WiFi in shopping complexes and rewarding regular visitors. Rewarding with them, of course, with the objective of having customers visit more often and to increase their lifetime value. Most shopping complexes would already have the database of users registered to use their WiFi network – they probably use that information to send them email blasts every now and then. But, as Rewards Come True proposes, this data could also be used to find and incentivise bigger spenders.
Marketers can track which are the most frequent visitors through their login behaviour. And of course, as loyal customers that visit repeatedly are more likely to have a higher spend, a smart marketing manager can target those repeat customers by incentivising them with a virtual Visa campaign. Regular visitors can be sent a virtual Visa to reward them for their loyalty. The marketing manager can then use the data collected from their consequent card spending to create unique and powerful insights into consumer spend and brand preferences. Ultimately, virtual Visas are a way to make data-driven marketing into a success, rather than being just a buzzword.
In general, marketers know that the power of a cash reward is one that’s hard to beat – there’s no stronger motivator for most (if not all) demographics. It’s why Rewards Come True introduced cash gift cards into clients’ campaigns almost two decades ago – to accelerate campaign response rates. Its campaigns have delivered big players like ANZ and Asus results. The company’s customers often run multiple kinds of campaigns with them – using both digital and physical cards, internally for staff and externally for clients – after seeing the success of an initial campaign.
An example of this was a Rewards Come True client working in the financial services industry who wanted to distribute a (surprise) reward to those who communicated about their loan repayments. Specifically, those on their unemployment insurance who were going through periods of financial struggle. It wasn’t just a nice idea – it was a simple way to solve cross-border reward issues and save on postage as the reward recipients were in both Australia and New Zealand. With Rewards Come True managing the online distribution, the concept was able to get off the ground quickly and without headaches. The response from recipients (and the clients’ team) was one of distinct gratitude.
With payments moving online, it would be easy to dismiss virtual Visas as just another new payment technology. However, if these case studies teach us anything, it’s that new methods give us new opportunities to engage with customers in more meaningful, responsive ways. After all, it’s not every day that marketers find something that’s proven to help them hit their KPIs and run creative campaigns in one hit.