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12 months on: Four tips to reward customers in the ‘new normal’.

For obvious reasons, it hasn’t been easy for brands out there this year. Not least with buying patterns so-quickly shifted and shattered and operational disruption due to furlough. But at Digital Rewards Group, we’re keen to share some positive insights after working with brands over these times, and share our hopes that it’s not all doom and gloom for those looking to re-engage.

In fact, we’re especially positive for one main reason – the simple fact that at the crooks of all the disruption to lifestyles and bottom-lines, shines a newfound respect between business and patron. A simple walk down the street will confirm that - with businesses thankful for unwavering customer loyalty and support over the past 12 months, and customers expressing extra gratitude to the companies, goods & services that continue to operate through the conditions. Both of these groups have been hit harder than ever – but as the old saying goes - “you don’t know what you have til it’s taken away.”

This newfound business-customer bond is also being recognised by those at the very top of government, with Rishi Sunaki’s 2021 budget setting out a plan to offer local communities the chance to club together and rescue their most treasured products and services. It’s not every day that the government allows customers to buy out their theatres, shops and pubs. Clearly, in an era where no business or customer is being taken for granted, it is mutual loyalty that shines through.

But how is such loyalty achieved? After testing re-engagement avenues with our clients, we’re sharing with you our top tips for new-normal engagement.

1. The simple act of giving.

Working with brands over the past 12 months during, we have found the act of giving to deliver the most profound results. While ‘the power of free’ is already a tried and tested as a strategy to garner trust & exposure, gifting to customers throughout economic disruption appears to supercharge its effects. Our own early research findings indicating that customers take extra note of brands who go above & beyond in times of crisis.

Testament to this is our campaign currently live on Dolmio jars throughout the UK, where we were able to give Dolmio parents free exclusive access to a family-savings app, ‘Kids Pass’, offering access to days out deals for when the day arrives, the best discounts on stay-at-home comforts in the meantime.

No matter the vertical, no-strings, no-commitment giving has proven a powerful way of solidifying the connection with shoppers.

2. Shared experiences are the key

A quick glance of Google trends will tell you that shared experiences are the new mantra for 2021, with searches back on the exponential rise for days out, staycation holidays, and family-based attractions. As we’ve shown with Dolmio & others, it’s never been more important to engage consumers emotively via a positive shopping experience, that provides encouragement to get back to their family leisure time.

Our ready-made products of Kids Pass, Popcorn Pass, and Digital Perks have been well-placed to provide off-the-rack campaign value in this area, by focusing on customer rewards that offer an invitation to reconnect with loved ones. Campaigns like this not only provide a point of difference at POS, but also an emotive relevance that helps forge long-term loyalty and will carry brands through the crisis and beyond.

3. Evaluate your strategic objectives

Above all 2020 and 2021 are tests of adaptation, and we’ve seen best results from brands prepared to re-write their objectives and strategy documents, asking questions like: What channels should we be prioritising? How can we offer safe rewards for customers? How can we adapt our retention schemes over COVID?

Our closed user groups have offered brand-managers great security for testing changes in tack, and in Dolmio’s case we were quickly able to expand our stay-at-home deals to offer their customers premium home-learning exercises through the likes of Twinkl. Not only did this prove an instant hit for Dolmio, with the offer quickly becoming one of the most engaged with over lockdown. But for partnering brands like Twinkl, the fact our offers cannot be searched outside our ecosystem adds extra security to acquisition efforts without diluting direct sales.

4. And what of price?

Unfortunately for many, we’ve learned that margins have already taken a huge hit without the added pressure of having to slash prices, run flash sales and devalue their brand. That’s why adding value to sale is sure to take precedence in 2021 – leveraging customer passion points to allow customers to save money when the time is right.

If you’re looking to provide your customers with welcome encouragement to get back to their family leisure time outside, in a way that protects your margins, contact us today to chat about re-engaging your customers.

For more information on how we can help your brand, call Ian on 07810 800568 or email ian.pearce@drg.co.uk