Loyalty program


In today’s world, as businesses evolve, technologies disrupt, and consumer behavior changes, the brand experience has become an important criterion for evaluating the customer journey offered by businesses. From 2021 to the foreseeable future, as IDC rightly predicts, the companies will be competing through customer loyalty programs based increasingly on the customer experience that the customers receive. 2020 didn’t go as planned; the pandemic has affected the fundamentals of the business, leading to profits in some cases and losses in others. Looking beyond the dollar impact, what we foresee for the current year is corporations adjusting to the new trends by embracing digital transformation, automation, convenience, data-driven decisioning, and contactless commerce. As the pandemic has set us on a new path, we are anticipating that 2021 will precipitate a number of unexpected changes to the shopping mall loyalty program landscape. Here’s to the loyalty program trends of 2021! 

‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) is going to take center stage. 

In the coming years, companies are going to integrate the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ scheme into their loyalty programs, allowing customers to pay equal, pre-determined, interest-free loan installments for the purchases they make through online loyalty programs. With the pandemic blues looming large, customers globally, especially in the worst-hit places like North America and Europe, are facing a cash crunch, leading to mass adoption of credit-averse purchases. As customers prioritize the right combination of flexibility, control, affordability, and convenience with regard to their shopping experience, brands that embrace the BNPL model will benefit from having a large wallet share, a large basket size, and more customers. 

Customers will promote brands that support their personal growth. 

The pandemic is delivering a mighty blow to the health profile of the population, and consequently, customers are reassessing, reshaping, and repurposing their lifestyle choices. Today, the customer expects you to look beyond just selling your product and service and do something concrete to help them achieve their personal goals, fulfill their passions, and satisfy their lifestyle objectives through the best loyalty programs. Brands will, thus, have to look for creating values that are not tied to their product or service but rather steered towards purposefully fulfilling customers’ passions. 2021 will be about helping customers manifest their ambition and aiding them in keeping their habits. By doing so, brands will earn the loyalty and advocacy of customers who will be convinced that your brand has more to offer than just products and services. 

Creating contactless commercialization 

Over the last few years, the vision for retail customershas beenentered  around creating a frictionless experience for the buyers. The shared vision of the retail and travel space, as in the case of non-aeronautical revenue, is anchored on the worthy belief of contactless commercialization. 2021 will see the retail industry double down on the experience desired by customers, and they will thus focus on a healthier and happier buying experience and on loyalty programs for small businesses. This invigorated focus on health will drive mass adoption of digital and virtual capabilities, which retailers, shopping malls, and even airports will acquire to minimize human-to-human interaction during the entire purchasing journey. The explicit and pent-up demand for contactless brand interaction from customers will emphasize investment in contactless technology by the brands. 

Brands will earn money by monetizing their loyalty programs. 

This pandemic led to a draught of monetary transactions in industries like organized retail, travel, hospitality, entertainment, and some others. With the revenue stream going out the window, there is an increasing need to maintain customer loyalty through loyalty rewards programs in these industries. Until the retail transaction life is alive and kicking again, which is only possible after complete vaccination, businesses will have to deal with vacant queues, empty spaces, empty tables, and vacant rooms. In this testing time, loyalty programs will have to rely on their most loyal members. Throughout 2021, to survive this cruel onslaught of scarce business transactions, brands will have to monetize certain elements of their loyalty programs, which have always been given for free. This subscription model will make up for the lost revenue stream and will act as a lifeline for brands. 

Investment in marketing technology and digitization initiatives will grow. 

It is widely anticipated, and even McKinsey found in its survey that companies will shift a significant portion of their budget towards investment in marketing technology and digitization initiatives, including retail loyalty programs. Onboarding to cloud and SaaS-based products will continue to advance as brands look to drive innovation through the use of pre-built, off-the-peg marketing technology capabilities as reduced technology teams focus on the core business platforms, which are the backbone of their business. Thus, customer loyalty solutions like OKEN, a SaaS platform that powers both Android and iOS appsfrom WovVTech could be in great demand as more and more top executives expect the pandemic to generate big opportunities for growth. 


Standing here in 2021, as we can see, the future of the customer experience in retail is going to be beyond personalization. The business owners will have to focus on a new, game-changing phenomenon called empathy for the masses, which encourages you to go beyond creating a personal experience for the customers to win their loyalty through customer loyalty programs.