Globally, we’re seeing a proliferation of brands that are investing in loyalty — whether for the first time or to revamp their existing strategy and programs. In fact, 83% of the brands we surveyed for our new Forrester Wave™ evaluation on loyalty service providers are increasing their investment in loyalty by 5% or more this year. Why? Earning customer loyalty increases sales and improves retention, so brands need to look at loyalty as an outcome — not just a program.
In April, we published a Forrester Wave focused on loyalty solutions — and scored 14 vendors on both their technology platform (80%) and some of the primary services they offer (20%). Since the chief part of that evaluation was the technology platform, we’ve also just published The Forrester Wave™: Loyalty Service Providers, Q3, 2021 to take a deep dive into providers that offer substantial services to support brands in building strategies, programs, and running the day-to-day operations of a loyalty program. We looked at the 12 most noteworthy providers in today’s market — Ansira, Bold Orange (BOCO), Bond, Capgemini, dunnhumby, Hathway, Jakala, The Lacek Group, Material, Merkle, PK, and Publicis Groupe — and evaluated them across 26 criteria.
Choose A Loyalty Service Provider Based On Emotional Connections, Customer Insights, And Project Orchestration Capabilities
All the providers we evaluated are worth reviewing if you are in the market for a loyalty services partner. Leading providers have capabilities that are essential to building strong loyalty strategies and successful programs, including:
- Building emotional connections with consumers. Because emotions drive behavior, brands are measuring emotional loyalty now, as well as behavioral loyalty, to understand how their customers really feel about them. Look for providers that incorporate emotional loyalty into their strategic frameworks and demonstrate use cases and strategies for growing emotional loyalty.
- Generating qualitative and quantitative customer insights. Brands need to understand the behaviors, needs, and motivations of their loyal customers so that they can earn more loyalty customers. Look for service providers that can enhance that customer understanding with AI-enabled capabilities and other key offerings, such as benchmarking, customer segmentation, behavioral analytics, churn/retention models, predictive models, look-alike modeling, and dashboards to visualize the data easily.
- Orchestrating projects across other service providers and vendors. Loyalty projects can require multiple technologies like POS, e-commerce, and loyalty platforms as well as multiple agencies that a brand may work with. Someone needs to manage those projects — so choose a loyalty service provider that can proactively bring partners to the table, create alignment, monitor their performance, and hold them accountable for their deliverables to ensure successful results that improve your loyalty capabilities.
If you would like to learn more about this crowded and growing space, I recommend the following resources: