Luxury Institute News

September 26, 2013

Strategy emerges from customer culture: Luxury Institute CEO

By Joe McCarthy
Luxury Daily
September 25, 2013

NEW YORK – The CEO of The Luxury Institute at the Luxury Interactive 2013 conference said that luxury brands should focus on building a culture of relationship building and sales will follow.

The executive said that many conventional paradigms of behavior should be flipped to create an environment steeped in meaningful purpose. In his “7 Paradoxes of Luxury Marketing” talk he verified the profitability of such strategy suggestions with hard evidence.

“If you want to create a great customer culture, you have to think in terms of paradox,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, New York.

“Some people say culture trumps strategy, but I don’t believe that’s true,” he said. “Strategy emerges from culture.”

Internal paradigms
Mr. Pedraza discussed several remedies for poor strategies that have become entrenched in business culture.

The first paradox dealt with shifting a brand’s focus from commodities to meaningful purpose. This objective reaches beyond revising product development to facilitating a better society.

Mr. Pedraza at the Luxury Interactive 2013 conference

Next, companies should switch the tone of their command style from hierarchical and militant to empowering and creative.

Mr. Pedraza said that employees are more responsive and more likely to create innovative ideas when given liberty to act without constraints. An example of this would be giving in-store employees technology to pursue friendly relationships with customers post-purchase.

Third, Mr. Pedraza said that decision-making should incorporate employees from all levels of operation as well as consumers. When decisions are cloistered among high-level executives, simple or uncanny solutions can be overlooked.

Looking out
Educating employees should not resemble a classroom. Rather, Mr. Pedraza insisted that employees will quickly adopt brand values when trained in a gradual, interactive and personal manner.

A skill-based hiring process should be tempered with value-based merits. A candidate selected after an assessment of values will likely assimilate into brand culture with more ease.

Mr. Pedraza urged brands to incentivize the right behavior. Employees will likely be more proactive if they know their behavior is recognized.

Finally, a meaningful brand culture should be reinforced daily to ensure its fortitude. Lexus and The Ritz-Carlton were two luxury brands that Mr. Pedraza acknowledged as pioneers of meaningful brand culture.

For instance, Toyota Corp.’s Lexus is promoting the 2014 IS vehicle with a collaboratively created, stop-motion Instagram film that draws on the perspectives of 212 fans to show the vehicle in a range of angles and tones.

Under the orchestration of a directorial team during Instagram’s #WorldwideInstameet, car enthusiasts and Instagram users from a variety of background blended their personalities in a film that colorfully animates the IS. By leveraging Instagram in this unifying fashion, Lexus will likely grab the attention of a younger demographic and potentially trigger more collaborative, stop-motion films (see story).

Ultimately, if employees are infused with a sense of purpose, they will likely be more effective sales agents.

“Employees that believe companies have strong sense of purpose versus companies without purpose perform much better,” Mr. Pedraza said.

http://www.luxurydaily.com/strategy-emerges-from-customer-culture-exec/

September 11, 2013

Will new owners bring Neiman Marcus and Saks into the future of retail?

By Erin Shea
September 10, 2013
Luxury Daily

The Neiman Marcus Group Inc. was purchased for $6 billion by investment firm Ares Management and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board Sept. 9, which makes this the second United States-based department store after Saks Fifth Avenue that has new Canadian owners.

Neiman Marcus’ new owners now have the opportunity to further expand the brand and revamp it into a retailer that is ready to take on the next generation of consumers. With the recent purchases of both Neiman Marcus and Saks, both retailers are looking to expand their global presence while creating a loyal customer base.

“On behalf of the entire management team, we are delighted to be joining with Ares and CPPIB to continue enhancing our strong brands by offering our customers the best edited merchandise assortments as well as delivering a superlative omnichannel shopping experience,” said Karen Katz, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, Dallas.

Next step
Neiman Marcus’ former owners, Warburg Pincus and TPG Capital, purchased the retailer in 2005 for $5.1 billion.

The companies sold the retailer on Sept. 9 for $6 billion, after ending a long struggle to sell it, according to Reuters.

With its new owners, Neiman Marcus is looking to expand while keeping its consumer’s satisfied with its omnichannel offers, which is similar to what Saks is aiming to do.

Saks’s new owner Hudson’s Bay Company will help boost its omnichannel experience as part of its portfolio of retailers.

Saks’ new Look campaign

Hudson’s Bay Co. purchased Saks July 29 for $16 per share in an all-cash transaction that is valued at $2.9 billion, which includes debt. This purchase is likely to help Saks reach its goal of becoming an omnichannel retailer and provide its customers with an enhanced shopping experience.

Both Saks and Neiman Marcus are likely to benefit rom new ownership so that they can focus on building up consumer relations.

“There has been a lot of capital accumulated in Canada in the last couple of years,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, New York. “I think that when the Canadians look around the world, they see the U.S. as a growth opportunity and they especially see luxury as a growth opportunity.

“The Canadians tend to be brand builders and there is a tremendous opportunity to build up customer culture since Neiman Marucs is lacking in this area,” he said.

“Neiman Marcus needs loyal customers and Saks does too.”

In addition, these new owners could help the brands reach other goals by expanding their presence in Canada.

“Neiman Marcus and Saks are great retailers and great brands that can easily extend to Canada, especially in ecommerce,” said Marie Driscoll, CEO and chief consultant at Driscoll Advisors, New York.

Just a coincidence
However, the purchases of Neiman Marcus and Saks could be looked at as just a coincidence happening around the same time.

Although, both of the sales do seem to indicate that the new owners have faith in the retailers to remain strong in the future.

“Investment companies are global,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. “It’s serendipity that both Saks and Neiman Marcus will be owned by companies based in Canada.

“Saks and Neiman Marcus are the heart of American luxury,” he said. “The two brands escaped the recession unscathed.

“There is a continuum between when you’re purchased by a private equity group and when you’re sold by a private equity group that commences with optimism and a willingness to invest.”

http://www.luxurydaily.com/will-new-owners-bring-neiman-marcus-and-saks-into-the-future-of-retail/

July 3, 2013

Survey: Wealthy Women Prefer Jewelry From Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. is the jewelry brand most widely purchased by ultra-wealthy women, according to a study by The Luxury Institute.

By Daniel Ford
JCK Online
July 2, 2013

The institute surveyed ultra-wealthy U.S. consumers with minimum net worth of $5 million about luxury brands they buy and the relationships they have with luxury sales professionals.

David Yurman and Cartier followed Tiffany on the list. The women surveyed said they have a preferred salesperson at all three jewelers. And never underestimate the power of the pen: 
More than half of ultra-wealthy women who purchase from both jewelry and fashion brands say they appreciate handwritten thank-you notes.

“Relationship selling is not something exclusive to markets like high-end automobiles, real estate and wealth management services,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza in a statement. “Even in luxury jewelry and fashion, relationships cultivated by trust and an understanding of customer preferences can help boost both the frequency and size of sales.”

December 10, 2012

Superior Craftsmanship, Materials and Customer Service Define Luxury Market and Drive Premium Pricing According To New Survey

(NEW YORK) December 10, 2012 – In a new survey by independent New York-based Luxury Institute, superior craftsmanship, materials and customer service scored highest in terms of helping to define the luxury market while driving premium pricing.  Additionally, survey respondents overwhelmingly favored a long-lasting, high quality product over one that merely enhanced status.

The survey, in cooperation with the newly relaunched Lincoln Motor Company, asked wealthy luxury automobile consumers to share their opinions that may have altered since the recession about buying considerations and luxury spending across a variety of product categories.

“High standards for the tangible quality of goods are to be expected from such refined buyers,” said Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza.  “Of particular interest is the growing leadership of U.S. firms as global luxury brand icons.  Jewelry from Tiffany & Co., consumer electronics from Apple and handbags from Coach are among the world’s most prominent brands, giving consumers worldwide more reasons to pursue luxury in the States.”

Defining and Driving the Luxury Market

When it comes to what drives luxury and justifies premium pricing, 86% of affluent Americans surveyed say that superior craftsmanship is the deciding quality.  Nearly as many (84%) say they also expect the use of superior materials in luxury products.  The third most important consideration, cited by 76% of wealthy respondents, is a “superior customer experience both during and after the sale.”

A majority of wealthy consumers report enjoying their luxury purchases discreetly versus proudly showing their purchases to others.  In addition, more than 90% indicate that acquiring a long-lasting, high quality product is more important than enhancing their status.

“What we see in this insightful Luxury Institute research is that during the recession, the U.S. luxury market changed and people changed,” said Jim Farley, Executive Vice President of Ford Motor Company Global Marketing, Sales and Service and Lincoln.  “They want what appeals most to their desires and not what they believe will impress others and this is a trend we believe will continue to grow ever stronger.  We also took good note that in the automotive sector the expectation of great service is still being underserved, something we intend to address with the new Lincoln.”

Other survey results highlighted the fact that half of high-income shoppers rely on user reviews and the recommendations of family and close friends, enabling quick sharing of opinions and influence.  These top-two influencers of luxury consumers’ purchase decisions demonstrate how relative newcomers can quickly establish brands that compete with established stalwarts, and how traditional brands can reinvigorate themselves via digital media.

Added Milton, “What we hear consistently and loudly from wealthy consumers is that the manner in which the goods are sold, as well as the service provided after the sale, are nearly as important as the products themselves.  With American brands growing in luxury influence, there is a clear eagerness on the part of the global consumer to embrace American luxury brands, making service a critical success factor for the future.”

Survey Methodology
The Luxury Institute conducted an in-depth online survey with 1,216 affluent U.S. consumers in cooperation with the Lincoln Motor Company.  Half male and half female respondents were recruited and screened to only include those age 21 or older with a minimum gross annual income of $150,000 and ownership/lease of at least one luxury automobile.

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth Consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates  LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

October 11, 2012

Ultra-Wealthy Shoppers Spend More On Luxury Where They Maintain Personal Relationships; Pentamillionaires most likely to be close with specific sales professionals at Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman

(NEW YORK) October 11, 2012 – U.S. consumers with at least $5 million in assets and $200,000 in annual income share detailed opinions and observations about their relationships with salespeople in six luxury categories in the new 2012 Luxury Customer Relationship Index survey from the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute.

High-ticket categories show higher rates of customers who deal with a specific salesperson.  Watches (49%) lead all categories in terms of proportion of customers who maintain relationships with salespeople, followed by jewelry (40%) and men’s ready-to-wear (38%). There is a noticeable drop-off in rates of personal relationships at luxury retailers (30%), handbag brands (27%) and women’s ready-to-wear (21%).

Across categories, 70% of ultra-wealthy customers who transact and communicate with a specific salesperson say that this relationship causes them to spend more on goods and services in stores and on the Web. The biggest positive impact on sales comes when customers maintain relationships with salespeople in luxury retail, and in both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear categories.

In luxury retail, Bergdorf Goodman (51%) and Barneys (49%) enjoy the highest rates of maintaining relationships with ultra-wealthy customers, with larger chains like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom seeing lower incidence of relationships. In the middle are Brooks Brothers (36%), Neiman Marcus (32%), Lord & Taylor (30%), and Saks (26%).

“Luxury retailers know that relationships drive sales,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “The right hiring, education programs and Customer Culture help to promote more productive relationships and higher sales.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

September 18, 2012

Luxury Institute CEO on Why You Must Empower, Educate & Mobilize Sales Forces

By Kelly Hushon
The eTail Blog
September 17, 2012

Milton Pedraza, CEO at The Luxury Institute, says we should be providing just as much information to the sales professional as we do to the customer. Makes sense. Somehow many retailers still aren’t doing that.

At a presentation he gave at eTail Europe this past June, Pedraza used Apple as an example. The company empowered its sales force by arming them with mobile devices that allowed them to interact with customers more efficiently and personally. But that’s just the beginning.

When retail stores are less full, Pedraza says there is a great opportunity for sales professionals to work on relationship building with their customers, and they can do so if they are given mobile devices with minimal functionality that allows them to reach out to the clientele they already have through email and other forms of mobile communication. Sales professionals can reach out to customers and nurture relationships in a way that scientific algorithms and data mining can’t compete with because, quite simply, they’re not as good as human beings.

It might seem radical – you might be thinking, “So you’re asking me to give my sales person in my store a mobile device and let them openly and directly email customers? NO WAY!”

According to Pedraza, it doesn’t have to be so scary. The two keys to doing this successfully are:

1. Hire the right people. Hire people who share your customer centric values. If they are selfish, they should work elsewhere.
2. Educate, educate, educate. And add to that Empower; use incentives that will empower them to build relationships with their customer base.

So why haven’t more retail operations done this already? Pedraza says it’s because it’s easier to create a technology app than it is to face the idea of finding the absolute best people, training them and paying them properly. He’s convinced though, that if we do this, it will pay off.

Customers who have admitted having a good relationship with a company and/or its sales force have been proven to spend more wallet share with said company.

Click on the link below to view the brief video of Luxury Institute CEO, Milton Pedraza, and hear more about why this idea works – and why, if you’re not already – you should be doing it:
http://www.theetailblog.com/featured/ceo-the-luxury-institute-on-why-you-must-empower-educate-mobilize-sales-forces-now/

September 12, 2012

In Asian Luxury Hotels, Wealthy Chinese Love Lodging With Hyatt And Marriot, But Japan Prefers Putting On the Ritz

(NEW YORK) September 12, 2012 – U.S. hotel operators prove popular among wealthy travelers in Asia’s two biggest markets, according to two new Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) surveys of affluent Chinese and Japanese by the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. Japanese travelers earning at least 15 million yen per year ($190,000) evaluated 20 luxury hotel brands, and Chinese consumers with minimum annual income of one million yuan ($157,000) considered 26 luxury-lodging names.

Wealthy respondents rated hotels 1-10 on criteria including quality of accommodations, exclusivity, degree of status enhancement and ability to deliver special guest experiences.  They also indicated which hotel brands they planned to stay with this year, and whether they’re willing to pay premium prices or to recommend a brand to people close to them.

In China, St. Regis (8.41) earns the highest LBSI score, but the JW Marriott (36%) and Grand Hyatt (34%) were most frequently visited in the past year by wealthy Chinese travelers and are the two hotels where they plan to stay next. Along with InterContinental, Marriott and Hyatt are also the two most likely brands to receive favorable recommendations from wealthy Chinese travelers.

In Japan, Ritz-Carlton ranks at the top for both popularity and prestige. Ritz earns the second-highest (7.62) LBSI score, just behind Peninsula Hotels (7.66), but it is deemed the hotel most worthy of a price premium.  Ritz-Carlton is also the most popular choice for the next hotel visit.

“Luxury hotels don’t achieve consistently superior ratings by accident,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Standards, systems and training underpin excellence in any service business, especially luxury.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)
The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

Ralph Lauren And Calvin Klein Are The Most Popular Fashion Brands For Wealthy Shoppers, But Women See More Prestige In Chanel, Vuitton and Prada; Men Prefer Italian.

(NEW YORK) September 12, 2012 – Men and women earning at least $150,000 a year shared detailed opinions on 30 Ready-to-Wear luxury fashion brands in the latest Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) survey from the independent and objective New York-based Luxury Institute. LBSI scores comprise average (1-10) scores on product quality, customer service, social status and ability of the brand to deliver special customer experiences.

Chanel earns the highest LBSI score (7.49) from women, ranking comfortably above Louis Vuitton (7.29) and Prada (7.21). Chanel is also the leading brand for delivering the best customer experience, and the one most deserving of charging premium prices.

Among high-income men, the highest ranking brands are three from Italy: Canali (7.84), Brioni (7.80) and Ermenegildo Zegna (7.72). Canali earns the highest overall rankings for product quality and service experience, and it’s one of the top three brands most deserving of charging premium prices, along with Zegna and Brunello Cucinelli.

Brand prestige and popularity are two different matters. The top two brands purchased in the past year by both men and women are Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, and Ralph Lauren is the brand most mentioned as one wealthy consumers will buy in the coming year. Zegna ranks second for intended purchase among men.

“With luxury Ready-to-Wear, wealthy consumers certainly place tremendous weight on product quality, but those brands that combine great products with excellent service are the ones delivering superior overall experiences,” says Luxury Institute CEO Milton Pedraza. “Consistently delivering that kind of experience is at the heart of sustaining premium pricing.”

About the Luxury Institute (www.LuxuryInstitute.com)

The Luxury Institute is the objective and independent global voice of the high net-worth consumer. The Institute conducts extensive and actionable research with wealthy consumers about their behaviors and attitudes on customer experience best practices. In addition, we work closely with top-tier luxury brands to successfully transform their organizational cultures into more profitable customer-centric enterprises. Our Luxury CRM Culture consulting process leverages our fact-based research and enables luxury brands to dramatically Outbehave as well as Outperform their competition. The Luxury Institute also operates LuxuryBoard.com, a membership-based online research portal, and the Luxury CRM Association, a membership organization dedicated to building customer-centric luxury enterprises.

September 8, 2012

Accepting Chinese debit cards pays dividends

Upmarket US retailers cash in on influx of tourists from the far east
By Yu Wei
China Daily
September 7, 2012

Hoping to attract the business of Chinese travelers, luxury retail chains Saks and Neiman Marcus will soon start accepting debit cards issued by China UnionPay Co at select US stores.

Saks Inc is installing point-of-sale keypads that accept UnionPay cards’ personal identification numbers at its Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York. The company plans to add other stores over the next few months, spokeswoman Julia Bentley said.

China UnionPay is China’s only provider of domestic bank-services cards, credit and debit. Both Saks and Neiman Marcus already accept China UnionPay credit cards.

Efforts to capture the lucrative market of Chinese tourists are not new. The French jewelers Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier, the Swiss watch makers Piaget and Omega and the duty-free chain DFS Galleria, owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, have been taking China UnionPay cards for some time, as have mid-range retailers such as Macy’s, Apple and Best Buy.

“Macy’s has accepted (China UnionPay’s debit) card since 2004,” says Jim Sluzew-ski, a spokesman for the department-store operator based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“The card is accepted in all Macy’s stores and is popular among our customers who visit from China.”

China UnionPay says its debit card is the most popular mode of payment among China’s richest consumers because purchases are linked to a bank account rather than a limited credit line.

Other benefits: No fees are applied to purchases and the buyer has the option of getting cash back at the store checkout.

“Our goal is to make it easier for our Chinese customers to pay however they wish to pay,” Bentley says.

Like Saks, Neiman Marcus of Dallas will begin accepting China UnionPay debit cards at some stores beginning this month. These include the Neiman Marcus store in Honolulu and the Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York.

The company plans to follow suit at Neiman Marcus stores in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Boston.

“We like to accommodate as many Chinese customers as we can, and most of them prefer debit cards to credit cards,” says Ginger Reeder, a spokeswoman for the privately held Neiman Marcus Group.

“We have seen more Chinese customers in our stores over the years, and the most popular items among Chinese travelers are handbags and other accessories.”

To enhance its service to shoppers from China, the company has begun hiring Mandarin-speaking sales assistants.

“Every store has at least two or three and we’ll continue to hire more,” Reeder says.

Not so long ago the upmarket retailer only accepted its store credit card, cash and American Express.

“The funny thing is, two years ago Neiman Marcus didn’t accept Visa, MasterCard or checks at its stores,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the market-research firm Luxury Institute LLC.

“Now they allow all kinds of payment because they realized they were losing sales by their card policy. When I was in Miami I had to go to a cash machine before buying something in Neiman Marcus because I didn’t have a Neiman Marcus credit card, which was very inconvenient.”

Pedraza considers Neiman Marcus’ revised card policy a “must decision” that proves that retailers need to adapt to customers’ changing preferences. “Smart companies will do it because they’re customer-centric,” he says.

US retailers still have work to do in better serving Chinese shoppers, consumers, Pedraza says.

“We are not friendly enough to Chinese customers compared to Europeans (visiting the US). That’s a lot of opportunities because today the Chinese consumer is a very important global consumer and will be more important in the future.”

A record 1.1 million Chinese visited the US last year, up 36 percent from the previous year, the US Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration says.

The country’s economic growth has boosted the buying power of Chinese who travel abroad, and some savvy US businesses have taken steps to draw in these shoppers.

An example is the prominent placement of UnionPay’s logo at the checkout counters of some upmarket retailers, along with the installation of the PIN-enabled keypads.

Wu Miaoqing, visiting New York from Hangzhou, a coastal city in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, applauded the decision by Saks and Neiman Marcus to start taking China UnionPay debit cards.

“Being able to use the card abroad not only makes my purchase convenient, it also makes me feel good. It shows the businesses care about us.”

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/weekly/2012-09/07/content_15741171.htm

September 5, 2012

Get Ready for the Loyalty Marketing Renaissance of 2013

Six New Ways to Serve Loyal Consumers in a Smartphone Age
By: Adam Broitman
AdAge.com
September 04, 2012

The essence of loyalty marketing has not changed since its invention; incentivize your best customers and they will not only remain patrons, they will tell their friends about their experiences with your brand. The rise of social technologies has multiplied the positive effects of a brand supporter and underscores the importance of influential evangelists.

Though the substance of loyalty has not changed in the past 30 years, the tactics and technologies required to implement a loyalty program have been displaced — so much so that history may designate the years between 2012 through 2015 as a renaissance in customer loyalty. Here are a few guidelines to use when planning your customer loyalty programs for 2013:

Don’t Just Be Social, Be Helpful
According to a survey by American Express one in five American’s have used social media for customer service. Furthermore, customers, on average, are willing to spend 21% more with companies that provide great service. Given that social media is an ideal channel to directly interact with your customers, a strategic approach is imperative. The mere presence on popular social networks is no longer enough. Simple, canned responses to comments on social networks no longer meet consumer expectations. It is crucial for social media to be treated as a service channel in addition to a promotional channel. The installation of an uninformed employee, armed with no more than a hyperlink to a customer service page is only slightly better than ignoring comments made within social networks.

Forget Gamification, Learn The Game
The Gamification gold rush has led many brands to the construction of superfluous “cart before the horse” initiatives in which badges and leaderboards serve little to no strategic purpose. There are countless theories that marketers can borrow from games, but in order to accurately take advantage of such ideas in an effective manner, marketers must dig deeper and strive to realize the various compulsion loops and social dynamics that make games “sticky” (apologies for the late 90′s lingo). Here are a few links for inspiration:

  • http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/hcds.htm
  • http://www.mud.co.uk/richard/Shoreditch.pdf

Feel The Power of Post-PC
The post-PC era has put massive computing power, packed in every shape and size screen, in the palm of the everyday consumer. If your legacy POS system is getting in the way of allowing you to implement a cutting edge loyalty program, consider taking advantage of consumer grade products to get the job done.

Take a look at the following payments systems that have integrated elements of loyalty into their platform:

  • Square
  • SAIL (Verifone)
  • PayPal Here
  • NCR Silver
  • Revel Systems

Learn to Outsmart “Showrooming”
“Showrooming” has become a plague for retailers. According to eMarketer, 59% of US smartphone owners have engaged in “showrooming”. Ironically, the very same mobile device that consumers are using to “showroom” can be used to create value. Marketers should look at the way in which luxury brands create value. Luxury marketers are notorious for creating value adding experiences in lieu of price breaks—as such, mobile has become a no-brainer for luxury marketers. According to the Luxury Institute, luxury shoppers expect the following from mobile applications:

  • 46% expect loyalty programs
  • 45% expect early access to sales
  • 53% want access to a sales professional that can help with finding the right product

Remember That Likes Don’t Equal Loves
These days, it is all too easy to create a “like-gated” promotion yet many of the programs that ask for personal information in exchange for entrance into a contest fall flat when it comes to any type of long term engagement. In the endless debate about the value of a “like,” many marketers have concluded that a like is only as good as the communications that follow it. Loyalty can certainly begin with a like, but a like is not guaranteed to get you to a “love”. According to eMarketer, nearly half of branded “likes” have no influence on consumer purchase decisions.

Make Love
Though last on this list, this is the most important thing a brand can do. We have seen brands like Zappos and Warby Parker take brand “amore” to new heights. Each brand uses social media and technology in exciting new ways, but each brand also manages to present their costumers with something marketers and advertisers speak about ad nauseam, “surprise and delight.” There are a variety of new brands such as Warby Parker that are set up as B Corporations. This corporate structure requires a company to generate some sort of “general benefit for society” as part of the way it defines profit. While long established plans will likely not reincorporate, this model has loyalty baked in and big brands should be looking at the types of ways these companies do business

As you are planning your loyalty efforts for 2013, do your best not to get so caught up in the trees that you forget to look at the forest. The seemingly endless number of mobile and social loyalty platforms can be so overwhelming, they can divert even the most savvy of marketers from their core objectives. With the above guides and a constant eye on ROI, 2013 should be a banner year for customer loyalty.

http://adage.com/article/digitalnext/ready-loyalty-marketing-renaissance-2013/236999/?utm_source=daily_email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=adage

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