The right loyalty program can help financial institutions engage with cardholders, build brand loyalty, and compete with national banks. Here’s what to look for.
As financial institutions explore leveraging digital tools and new technologies to engage their cardholders and increase their ability to compete against larger financial institutions, a card loyalty program is one strategy many are turning to. But according to loyalty and engagement experts at ampliFI Loyalty Solutions, not all programs are created equal.
The Foundation of a Great Loyalty Program
An effective loyalty program is going to look different for every financial institution so the ability to customize is foundational. Look for a program that provides your financial institution with the autonomy to customize both the earn and burn features. A great loyalty program allows the financial institution the flexibility to control and customize earning opportunities like dollar-to-point ratios, bonus point offers, special point rewards, and more.
Additionally, customization on the redemption side is just as important. Gravitate towards programs that offer a robust redemption catalog. Bonus points if that program includes a mix of traditional and innovative redemption options. Traditional options include classic rewards like cash back, gift cards, travel, and merchandise. Innovative rewards would include real-time rewards like ampliFI’s Fuel With Points, Pay With Points, and Checkout With Points, and wealth rewards like cryptocurrency, fractional shares, and more.
Access to Data Analytics
Every purchase, every swipe, and every transaction tells a story about what is important to your cardholders, and this data can be used to create a more engaging and personalized rewards experience. The best loyalty programs are responsive and proactive, iterating on current trends and cardholder behavior to identify new opportunities that meet cardholder needs while aligning with financial institution objectives.
Evaluate providers by the level of deep cardholder loyalty analytics and performance insights that will be provided and then use the insights your program delivers to learn, iterate and improve with the ultimate goal of engaging your cardholders and creating a loyalty loop of repeated card usage and redemption behavior.
The hottest trend in redemption experiences currently is real-time rewards. Integrating rewards programs into POS systems allows cardholders to access and use their rewards points immediately at the point of sale in a “cash-like” way. When merchant POS integration isn’t possible, financial institutions can still serve cardholders with another option to use their points after the transaction to cover the cost of their recent purchase via a text message or email notification.
“Innovative programs such as these provide us with the unique ability to connect with the member at the right time with the right offer,” says Ron Silvia, Chief Revenue Officer at ampliFI Loyalty Solutions. “So, you can meet cardholders where they’re at with personalized offers based on their specific needs.”
Today’s financial institutions face intense competition from large banks and affinity card programs like airline cards. To compete in a crowded marketplace, designing a customized loyalty program and using data analytics to tailor features to your unique cardholder community can help drive cardholder recruitment, loyalty, and retention. Offer a program that delivers choice and empowers your cardholders to engage in the manner best suited for them. Whether that means real-time interactions at the POS or accumulating rewards for aspiration redemptions, the result will be stronger engagement and return on investment.
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