Bill Hanifin

CEO, Hanifin Loyalty LLC

Bill Hanifin brings over 25 years experience encompassing customer centric marketing, payment systems, and corporate banking to benefit the clients he serves. Bill has concentrated on developing and implementing Customer Strategies designed to address a range of business objectives from account acquisition and sales performance to improved customer retention and increased share of wallet and brand preference.

Bill has worked with companies in the airline, banking, hotel, retail, telecom, and business services sectors providing a range of services including Strategic Marketing Plans, Project Management, Financial Measurement, and Operational Solutions. A partial Client list includes American Express, BBVA Bancomer, Banco BHD, FirstCaribbean Int’l Bank, Grupo Posadas (largest hotel chain in Mexico), JM Associates Federal Credit Union, LaQuinta Inns, Scotiabank, Visa, and

Bill is a Founding Member of the Customer Strategy Network, a global network of independent relationship and loyalty marketing practitioners. He authors Loyalty Truth, a blog covering all aspects of Customer Centric marketing, and serves as North American Contributing Editor for The Wise Marketer, a global publication covering the loyalty marketing industry.

Bill is an accomplished speaker and trainer and is a requested presenter at industry trade conferences sponsored by Airline Information, SourceMedia, the Direct Marketing Association, Visa, Loyalty 360, and the Institute for International Research. He has led public and privately organized workshops in the U.S., Canada, Latin America, EU, and Asia Pacific regions.

Bill is a prolific writer on the subjects of Millennial, Loyalty, and Relationship marketing. In addition to his blog Loyalty Truth, his articles and quotes have been published in American Banker, Colloquy, Cards & Payments, Card Technology,, DM News, Fox, Smart Money, and

  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    While it is easy to point out the flaws in self-checkout including the use case for ScanIt, something in me wants to root for a solution to be found that really meets the needs of shoppers, while returning an ROI for grocers. Like some others commenting here, my experience with "traditional" self checkout systems is that they don't save significant time, require attendee intervention, and can be frustrating. ScanIt is an interesting approach as it allows shoppers to scan as they go, possibly saving time over having to check out all items at the point of exit from the store. In terms of the functionality, I wonder how ScanIt handles items scanned but later returned to the shelf (have you ever shopped with children?) and the implications for shrinkage.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2019

    Will becoming a UPS pickup/drop off point drive craft sales at Michaels?

    If you agree that a key point of leverage for brick-and-mortar retailers is their ability to deliver high-touch services and create experiences in-store, then Michaels’ deal with UPS makes sense. My bet is that the pickup/drop-off arrangement will source new customers coming into Michaels stores who in the process will discover the Michaels brand. For existing customers, they will enjoy the ability to get what they need to complete a project and mail it from the same location. That spells convenience. There may be some non-productive traffic in the store as result of the drop off point, but I believe it will be minimal and not a significant "con" when weighed against the "pros" of this agreement.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2019

    REI opens outdoor adventure gateway concept

    Building an emphasis on experiences and helping customers understand "what to do with my gear" is a brilliant move by REI. Maybe not an absolute key to success, but definitely a highly preferred path is for REI to stay true to its pledge to be more "collaborative than competitive" with local guides and resource providers. Local knowledge is a scarce commodity and access to "locals" who understand a particular area is a sought after commodity that can create a feeling of cult loyalty among customers. Since REI is building on its reputation to sponsor workshops, classes and guided day programs, it has a perfect opportunity to leverage rather than exterminate local guides to execute on trips and clinics. Presumably REI has lots of positions to fill through opening the new store, so costing in the outside resources should equate to a practical business expectation. Supporting the Mt. Washington Valley Trails Association is a good start, but don't stop there.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Will Erewhon become the next Whole Foods?

    If the description of Erewhon as "crazy expensive" is actually true, I give them little chance to create a widely accepted national footprint. At the risk of giving away a good idea, I think the big winner in "better for you" foods will be a retail grocer that adopts a Trader Joe's/Aldi's approach with healthy products in stock. In other words, the first grocer to make healthy food affordable for the masses will become the dominant player in the long run. This opinion is held separate from views on whether private equity firms are "good" partners over the long term. Capital is needed for growth, but standards of the deal structure needs to adapt in acknowledgement of failed retail partnerships with private equity. Will retailers learn from the past mistakes of others? Time will tell.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Should companies have to pay you to use your personal data?

    The seven points outlined by Mr. Yang compose what I think the norm "should be" today. The trouble with how data is managed by brands today is that, while they comply with requirements to disclose privacy policies, the policies are too complicated for most people to read and understand. To be a friend of the consumer, Mr. Yang should advocate for current regulations to be implemented in such a way that consumers will be able to understand in plain English the data that is being collected and how it is managed or transferred. It should also be an absolute requirement, not an option, for brands to disclose when a breach has occurred. The part of this I do not agree with is that "you should receive a share of the economic value generated from your data." That is a reasonable statement on the surface but reaching agreement on formulas to determine what that "economic value" is will be a nightmare if not impossible. If marketers are proficient at their trade, they should be delivering economic value to customers in exchange for the data shared. If the consumer doesn't see the value, they have the right to opt out. We must give attention to the importance of data management but let's first do a better job of practicing the current regulations already in place.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2019

    Best Buy makes a big bet on health tech

    Recognition of the opportunity to provide healthcare-related tech to members of an aging population is a brilliant extension of the Best Buy brand. The opportunity is to create relationships through technology with seniors and others who can benefit from these products. The missing piece in today's consumer electronics market is to fill the gap in understanding so that people buying tech can get the greatest benefit from it. Often we buy up the next cool gadget only to see it land in a drawer soon thereafter. If Best Buy can provide the service, information and education to empower people of any age to take full advantage of the gadgets they buy, they will have a successful new area of business that will support the stated 2025 goal to double what Best Buy calls “significant customer relationship events.”
  • Posted on: 07/08/2019

    Is Walmart at an online crossroads?

    Walmart should maintain its focus on the ultimate goal - leadership, success, and profitability in its e-commerce activities -- but should review strategy and jettison the parts of the current plan that are sucking cash out of the business. Maybe growth through acquisition of boutique brands seemed like the way to get an edge on competitors at the time, but it seems that approach needs to be reevaluated. Also, Walmart has taken on the image of the follower rather than leader vis a vis Amazon. I think the drive to deliver in one day or "next day" is bait that Walmart did not have to take. Walmart needs to keep its focus on success in e-commerce, just chart a new and proprietary course.
  • Posted on: 06/19/2019

    Do direct-to-consumer digital brands have advantages over traditional retailers?

    DTC brands are successful in part because they focus on a focused product line (e.g. cosmetics) or a product that meets a specific need (e.g. fitness). Their Achilles heel in many cases can be their manner of funding. When venture and private equity money is the source of life and growth, pressures to meet investor expectations can unravel an otherwise organized growth plan. Because they are lean and don't have the baggage of traditional retailers, they have a distinct advantage over the offline competition. That doesn't mean they won't venture into the physical world. Customers like to "showroom" and I believe the transformation of the retail landscape will be evidenced in malls full of DTC kiosks or small stores where customers can see, test, and learn - also buy. It's been said before, but traditional retailers have to take advantage of their physical connection to the customer and focus on stellar customer service and in-store experience. The potential advantage to be created is obvious, so why aren't more offline retailers showing progress in these areas?
  • Posted on: 06/19/2019

    Best Buy knows tech. What about fitness?

    Best Buy has been brilliant in turning the threat of "showrooming" to its own advantage. The experiential nature of the shopping experience in Best Buy stores is attractive enough to entice customers to make a destination trip and browse products of interest. Any product that is higher-ticket and whose sale can be reinforced through in-person demo and trial is perfect to be added into the Best Buy environment. Fitness equipment falls into this category. Could we see e-tailers like Peloton co-locate showrooms for its products in Best Buy stores in the future? At a minimum it provides another sales channel. Going deeper, it is a lower cost path to brick and mortar exposure for DTC fitness brands like Peloton.
  • Posted on: 06/18/2019

    Former Snapchat and Quidsi execs come up with possible rival to Amazon

    From a leadership perspective, Verishop would seem to have the right people setting strategy and directing operations. That means there may be more in store than meets the eye. From what we see so far, I'm not sure there is any basis to think that Verishop will be the next Amazon. Obviously it can be a successful e-commerce retailer, but beyond that it is not even in context to compare it to Amazon.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2019

    Shake Shack founder says, ‘Do it. Don’t talk about it (sustainability initiatives) until asked.’

    When the changes you make as a brand are "intuitive" and done for the right reasons, then I see nothing wrong with telling customers about that policy. Don't over-promote, but realize that people value authenticity and moves made that coincide with core brand promises.
  • Posted on: 06/17/2019

    How well did Target handle its no good, very bad weekend?

    The expectations of consumers are skyrocketing. If only each of us were as perfect in executing our daily work as we expect our favorite retailers, both online and offline, to be. I'm not offering excuses for Target but suggesting that when technical and system problems occur, that retailers have a plan in place to address it with their valued customers. Having associates at the door to advise people what's happening and offering a bounce back certificate are good ideas to keep people calm. The challenge is in managing social commentary and negative feedback in social channels. Too many people instantly become cyber-bullies towards brands expecting to receive something in return. But, even though criticism can be unreasonable, brands have to keep an imaginary "smile on their face" and respond with practical responses. Target did well to get through its situation as best it could.
  • Posted on: 06/12/2019

    What does FedEx’s break with Amazon mean?

    Morgan Stanley's Mr. Shankar may have been overly dramatic with his description of this decision by FedEx. It is a “watershed moment for the parcel industry" but for different reasons, in my opinion. With Amazon accounting for less than 1.3 percent of total revenue, it seems that FedEx is less taking a financial risk and more making a statement to Amazon and the entire retail marketplace. By carving out its own path and seeking to further diversify its revenue base, FedEx is probably making a good decision for its shareholders.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    Experience is overrated, hire talent

    Investment in a shorter version of the customary skill and personality assessments available in the market would be worthwhile. Why not find out if the person considered for hire is truly suited for the position and has an interest in doing it well? That one step could reduce turnover and help to manage training costs. In addition, a retailer might find that a person applying for a specific position might actually be better suited for another opening. Benefits here are for both the employer and employee. Everybody wins.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2019

    Questions abound about the value of net promoter scores

    From the time that NPS was introduced, I was skeptical that any "one question" could lead to meaningful conclusions that predict business outcomes. This opinion was founded on opinions similar to those cited in the article by the WSJ and Ron Shevlin. I later reached out to Bain and discussed my questions with Rob Markey, the Bain partner who was leading the customer-centric work originated by Fred Reichheld. You can find this conversation deep in the archives of LoyaltyTruth dot com. Mr. Markey shared that the value in NPS could be found in an implementation plan for operational change that Bain created in conjunction with the NPS score. In other words, Bain intended the score to serve as a sentinel to kick off operational changes that would lead to improved customer acceptance and satisfaction. Brands that take action on their NPS score findings may have reason to continue to rely on the metric. Those that merely run the surveys and tout the number as a badge probably won't see long term-improvement in business results.

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