The draw of loyalty programs and their potential for better savings and experiences is universal: Forrester’s data shows that nearly three-quarters of online adults in China, France, Germany, the U.K, and U.S. belong to at least one loyalty program. In response to this intercontinental consumer interest, marketers are certainly not shying away from the challenge and opportunity of taking their programs abroad. But, to scale effectively, marketers can’t afford to simply translate an existing program from market to market. Instead, they must build a deliberate plan for expansion that is both rooted in a deep understanding of their global audience’s preferences and accounts for regional data and privacy concerns.

Successful global expansion for loyalty hinges on your attention to local detail. Build a value proposition that appeals to your local consumers by:

  • Understanding what makes the consumers in each target market loyal. Just because mobile offer delivery works well in European markets does not mean that you can expect the same engagement levels across all markets. So, to grow your program’s appeal, adjust your benefits mix by testing what your consumers are responding to through voice of the customer surveys. And, make sure to partner with your local customer insights team to leverage the insights they already have. If you’re considering expansion to a completely new market, consider finding a third-party resource that can help you understand things like media consumption and purchase behaviors to best meet local customer expectations.
  • Getting smart about regional data and privacy concerns or risk losing your loyal customers’ trust. Marketers need to be hyperaware of regional data and privacy regulations when dealing with consumer data. These rules apply to loyalty programs and strategies because they dictate how customer data can be collected, stored, and used. The most obvious example here is the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which requires compliance by May 2018. There are also country specific regulations that dictate what categories of products can be promoted or offered for redemption. To navigate local regulations, team up with your security and risk colleagues early so they can help you understand how to protect your best customers.
  • Finding out how third-party loyalty providers can support your global execution. Many vendors that provide loyalty management, marketing, and strategy support have experience working with global implementations. Determine how they can help you tackle pieces or your whole loyalty program deployment: 1) ask where account teams sit and where data centers are located to gauge global expertise and compliance experience, 2) find out if they have an established global delivery model for implementation, and 3) ask for examples of brands they’ve worked with in your target region(s).

The homework required before going global with your loyalty initiative may seem like a lot of work but don’t cut corners and risk diluting the success you’ve built in your home market. Keep up with market demand and find your best customers by continuing to build and deepen customer relationships no matter their geographic location.