Can loyalty programs ease supply chain blues this holiday season?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from The Wise Marketer, a website and newsletter serving the global loyalty industry.
What’s the hottest gift on American wish lists this holiday? Fulfillment. And while companies won’t be able to resolve all the product shortages, retailers can tap their loyalty programs and their data insights to help members avoid out-of-stocks.
Well run loyalty programs include three features that can help them beat the IOU holidays blues:
- Collecting the right data to understand member preferences.
- Deriving insights from members’ online browser activity.
- Supporting one-to-one, real-time engagement via text and email.
Here are how these features can help save the holidays:
- Play Santa with the wish list: Invite active members to share their holiday lists and, in return, send notifications when the desired products are in stock. Shoppers might then have a window of time (say, 24 hours) to snap up what they want. Such “live lists” would present real-time, “saved my butt” benefits to members, which they will likely remember, while providing loyalty marketers pinpoint data via opt-in engagement.
- “If you like that, you’ll love this”: Based on shared member gift lists, or purchase and behavioral data collected via a rewards program, merchants can send suggestions of products that are similar to hard-to-get items. This ensures members have several options with that merchant so they can get their mitts on something close to what they want.
- Improve customer odds with lottery-like events: This is a build on list sharing. Merchants can send “get in the game” notifications to members about drawings for hot products when they are in stock. Those who enter have a chance to get dibs on items when they are in stock — or even win them.
- Let members know the clock’s ticking: Shoppers have said they plan to start shopping early, yet 16 percent of loyalty members say they could not find information about product availability online, according to a recent report by The Verde Group. Loyalty apps can send gentle reminders that estimate how much time it will take for goods to arrive to the member or, even better, provide loyalty members exclusive shipping timelines that are faster than those of non-members.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should and can out-of-stocks be positioned as a loyalty perk? Which of the suggestions offered in the article around the use of loyalty data appear most beneficial and are there any you would add?