7 hot trends for customer relationship and loyalty programs

Developing loyalty programs that deliver real results for the company and turn customers into fans is a challenge. After all, in a market that is increasingly competitive and full of new technologies, traditional points programs have been left behind and are being replaced by more personalized and complex initiatives. 

The new consumption habits that are a direct reflection of the pandemic and the new generations' behavior need to be considered when companies think about loyalty. "There is no loyalty when the consumer is perceived superficially, it is necessary to really know them in order to understand their desires and needs and then develop assertive and strategic campaigns," says Christiano Ranoya, CEO of Indico. 

There are some essential steps to follow in creating a successful program. However, these steps will only be successful when they are integrated with the market and consumer trends that are currently trending."Following these trends is key to understanding how to create the loyalty program that best matches with the market trends and consumer reactions to them", adds Ranoya. 

Therefore, after an in-depth research based on our projects and on sources that are references in the area (such as Euromonitor, GWI, Oracle and PwC), Indico mapped the 7 consumer trends that will impact the loyalty and relationship programs in 2022 .

1. Searching for purpose

Conscious consumption is what millennials and generation Z are looking for these days. Topics such as the CO2 footprint of companies and cruelty-free production have never been so relevant, because now consumption is also a way of expression of sustainability activism.

According to a Euromonitor study, 67% of consumers are trying to make a positive impact on the environment through their everyday actions in 2021. 

Therefore, in the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) era, brands need to be more than just the products or services they offer. It is necessary to develop initiatives that go beyond the superficial, positioning ourselves in matters relevant to new generations

Bringing purpose to the company's marketing and corporate actions is one of the ways to connect with new consumers and make them loyal to the brand. 

2. Better quality of life

Another aspect prioritized by the new generations is increased life quality. The pandemic has brought a new perspective on healthcare and it has directly impacted how Millennials and Generation Z consume. 

In accordance with sustainability, new generations adopt habits aimed at ensuring better well-being. The fast-paced lifestyle that prevailed in big cities before the pandemic is being replaced by a relaxed one. As a result, slow-shopping (slow consumption) replaces frenetic and impulsive consumption. 

As an example, H&M, a multinational fashion company, launched "Conscious Choice", a product line that encourages slow-shopping through products made with organic and recycled materials. 

To keep up with this new lifestyle and consumption, companies can invest in the circular economy and in product recycling campaigns.

In addition, they can also develop loyalty programs that provide access to wellness services, such as gyms and clinics through the points redemption, discounts or cashback. 

3. Premium loyalty programs and subscriptions

Some consequences of the pandemic, such as social distance and remote work have led to convenience gaining a key role in purchasing decisions. This happened mainly because consumers no longer want to take the risk of leaving their homes and not finding the product they want.

By adopting subscription programs, companies are able to optimize customer time, ensure product availability and comply with regular deliveries, which increases customer satisfaction .

Premium loyalty programs, on the other hand, promote the exclusivity of products and services, which makes consumers feel special. This feeling makes the brand closer to its customers,  boosting recurrent purchases and loyalty. 

A good example of this is Amazon Prime, Amazon's premium subscription service. Through it consumers get free shipping for purchases on the Amazon Prime site, as well as benefits and exclusive offers. 

4. Marketing for loyalty

Digital, offline, inbound, outbound, traditional, direct, social, performance, content: with all those adjectives accompanying the word "marketing", it is difficult to understand its true meaning and importance for an organization. 

Marketing should be interpreted as the set of actions aimed at positioning a company, product or service in the market, considering the consumers' desires and needs. To put this into practice, marketing often teams up with the sales and technology teams. 

Since marketing is constantly interacting with the consumer through the various media, it plays a key role in companies, since it is responsible for developing communication and experience strategies in order to bring the customer closer to the brand and make them loyal. 

Thus, marketing must be a priority when the subject is loyalty. Assertive campaigns that foster Customer Experience and emotional relationships between customers and brands have a direct impact on customer loyalty.

5. CX of the future 

CX (Customer Experience) is the new buzzword of the moment and those who still don't invest in Customer Experience are left behind: a PwC study states that 73% of participants point to the experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. 

The CX of the future must promote integration between the areas of marketing and data, because only in this way is it possible to understand consumer behavior and redesign the purchase journey to create highly personalized experiences. In this context, Martechs stand out for already joining technology and innovation to marketing activities. 

Companies that want to build customer loyalty in 2022 must be prepared to offer delightful experiences, and to do this they must be customer-centric, that is, put the customer at the center of the strategy. 

Furthermore, with an effective Big Data analysis, it is possible to identify customers and their needs in a personalized way to promote offers that are more adherent to their profile, optimizing the targeting of the program and fostering even more loyalty. 

Indico, for example, teamed up with Coca-Cola and McDonald's LATAM to develop Rolá y Ganá, a campaign that transformed the fast-food chain's drive-thru during the pandemic. Want to know how we connected marketing, data and experience to create an award-winning project? Click here!

6. Metaverse: the new socialization

Since Facebook announced the name change to 'Meta', the Metaverse has become a topic of many discussions. With its own unique economy, ruled by cryptocurrencies and NFTs, the Metaverse is nothing more than a replica of the physical world in the virtual universe

In this fully immersive digital environment, it is possible to interact with other users and even participate in everyday events, such as work meetings. It is expected that the Metaverse will be not only a platform, but also an addition to real life .

Phygital (integration of the physical with the digital) had already predicted this movement, but the pandemic has further intensified socialization in the online universe, requiring an extremely high level of immersiveness. 

Companies should be aware of the Metaverse to develop a communication channel in this environment, consolidating omnichannel, as well as investing in gamification, encouraging consumer engagement and interaction with the brand's virtual environment. 

7. Ethics and data 

The LGPD (General Data Protection Law) enacted in 2018 and enforced since September 2020 in Brazil, regulates the storage, processing and sharing of personal data with the aim of protecting citizens' freedom and privacy. 

While the use of data is necessary to structure marketing activities and loyalty programs, companies must be ethical and strictly comply with the law when collecting and using consumer data. Those who do not comply with the law can be fined up to R$50 million. 

Moreover, with the end of third-party cookies in Google Chrome, planned for 2023, companies will have restricted access to information about user behavior. Therefore, it is necessary to think of alternatives for remarketing and retargeting. 

Companies are expected to be honest and transparent  in their collection and use of customer data, building a relationship of trust with the public. Another useful solution for both parties involved is to conduct surveys to collect information in exchange for rewards. 

About Indico

Indico is a Brazilian Martech company with an experience that has reached more than 150 million customers in 9 countries, that develops solutions that combine Loyalty and Innovation creating unique connections and transforming relationships between brands and consumers

We create solutions that boost relationships and transform results. 

Disruptive campaigns, programs and projects that connect ideas, innovation, data and technology to engage, delight and retain customers. We generate data-driven insights and new opportunities, developing the customer experience with the brand. 

Contact us and get to know the Indico way of revolutionizing the relationship with the customer.