Skip To Main Menu

Building brand loyalty with digital CX

Man with glasses smiling holding a smartphone

Keep and capture customers with CX-driven brand loyalty programs

Man with glasses smiling holding a smartphone
September 11, 2023


Using digital innovations to build brand loyalty

The average American is a member of 16 loyalty programs but only actively uses seven of them. What does that say about the other nine?

That these programs simply weren’t engaging enough to warrant repeat use — or users’ experiences with them were somehow unenjoyable or lacking.

Put another way, loyalty programs fail to resonate with users because they fail to accurately address users’ needs.  As is true across all digital and mobile products, a one-size-fits-all loyalty program approach simply won’t work.

From points earned for purchases to coupons or discounts for repeat customers, loyalty programs are a proven way to build long-term brand engagement. They can help you both retain customers and boost profits — when they’re done well.

  • 72.9

    of customers prefer brands that offer rewards

  • 85.9

    of customers feel “close” to brands with loyalty programs

The loyalty program concept has long been adapted across a wide range of industries and verticals, from travel and hospitality to food and retail. But recently, emerging digital capabilities have ushered in a new era of loyalty program possibilities.

Using the latest digital technologies, brands today have limitless opportunities for enhanced, real-time engagement with their established customer base. With these innovations, apps and mobile sites can now:

  • Deploy targeted, individualized push notifications that anticipate a customer’s unique needs.
  • Dynamically create and respond to data-driven customer segments to help ensure promotions are acted upon.
  • Predict customer intent and offer more rapid avenues to purchase.
  • Adopt proven gamification techniques to create goals that encourage repeat usage and boost user engagement.
  • Use AI to create just-in-time campaigns with little to no human involvement.

And that’s just the start.


Increasing value in digital loyalty programs

If your current loyalty program is not netting the returns you anticipated either in participation number or resulting sales traffic you may need to reevaluate your approach.

Here is how you can embed added value into your digital-driven loyalty programs.

1. Making the benefit of participating obvious and available

Does your program lead to free products or discounted services? Upgraded experiences? Faster delivery times? Whatever the perk is, make sure to market its value clearly, so users immediately sense the advantage of using your loyalty program and using it frequently. Additionally, don’t hide the program from customers. In fact, consider requiring all front-line employees to talk with customers directly about the program during every encounter.

2. Delivering personalized messaging

Today’s digital tech enables delivery of highly individualized communications to targeted users, so don’t settle for an outdated, universal marketing approach. Research suggests customers not only expect but prefer when brands deliver personalized offers based on their browsing and purchase history and they’re more willing to provide personal data to brands who do so.

3. Appealing to multiple types of customers

Spend some time envisioning your company’s typical user “personas” and their likely needs. Develop loyalty program incentives that can appeal to users from across an array of demographics and spending thresholds. Ask questions such as: What does the customer expect to get out of the loyalty program? How does the brand intersect with their daily lives? What specific benefits of the loyalty program are they most excited about?


    Download now to learn about customer-centric approaches, CX optimization, and the power of digital loyalty programs.

    Man with glasses looking off to the side and smiling

4. Incentivizing repeat use

Make it fun for users to engage with your site or app routinely. Creating loyalty systems and apps around incentives — sometimes called gamification — adopts best practices from game design and applies it to the customer loyalty marketing space to boost engagement and keep users coming back for more. Start by reconsidering how existing components could be represented differently to be more gamified — and look for ways to ensure that criteria for reward or advancement are aligned with users’ motivations.

5. Understanding customer goals

Your brand app or mobile site should be agile enough to respond to an array of user end goals. Some customers may come to the space hoping to place an order or log loyalty points, while others may simply want to research a product or service or chat with a customer service representative, for example. Your digital design must be resilient enough to allow users to get to any end goal — whatever it may be — quickly and easily.

6. Maximizing micro-sessions

Users typically engage with digital products in short bursts — what marketers sometimes call “micro-moments” — representing the few seconds between meetings or while they wait on public transit or in their child’s school pickup line. Loyalty programs that work well have apps and mobile sites that are optimized for such quick, frequent usage throughout the day.

7. Avoiding overkill

While personalized messaging is good, too much of it isn’t. One report found overzealous push notifications to be a driving factor behind customers’ choice to delete an app. Too much advertising can also drive users to hit the “uninstall” button. When developing a messaging plan for your loyalty program, it’s essential to find a balance between being helpful and informative — but not overly intrusive.

By recasting your loyalty program with these key CX deliverables in mind, you can develop a digital-driven loyalty platform that is engaging and fun to use — and that builds true, long-term brand loyalty among your client base.


How Wipfli can help

Wipfli Digital can help your company build a strong digital presence — one that’s responsive to customer needs with an eye toward new technological innovation. To learn more, see our digital services webpage.

  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
    Senior manager
    Billy puts humans at the center of every digital experience. He brings a user-empathetic perspective to digital strategy and product ideation that uncovers hidden ROI opportunities for clients.
    Contact me

Related resources

See all

Want to get started?

Our team is ready to help you capture and keep customers by using CX to drive brand loyalty programs.