Customers have long been willing to share their personal information with merchants as part of customer loyalty programs. The idea being that merchants are then able to keep in touch with the customer to send them personalized offers and increase their share of wallet. But in order to truly personalize their offers, should merchants try to obtain broader customer insight by sharing data with other merchants in order to better tailor messages?  The future is likely to be one where sharing can improve the value of loyalty programs. Both for the customer and the merchant.

Several years ago, the sharing economy was fairly unknown. Now, a remarkable number of people have stayed in an Airbnb apartment or have taken an Uber across town. The idea of functioning within an economy where resources and information are shared now seems fairly normal to people. But in some respects, this isn’t true of customer loyalty programs. People share their data to get better value, so why wouldn’t companies share data to improve the value of loyalty programs? Companies tend to have stand-alone loyalty programs and, if they have the time and technical resources, they profile customers based just on their own data. This seems unnecessarily limiting and might not be sustainable in the long-term.

The benefits of a universal loyalty currency

The problem with the current system is that having so many fragmented loyalty programs can cause apathy among many customers. They often struggle to accumulate much value in any one loyalty program. It’s also more difficult for merchants to personalize their offers as they can only profile their customers based on their shopping habits at their store(s).

Imagine the benefits to the customer if they could use a universal loyalty currency which could be used across different companies. They would be able to convert points into value much more frequently than is currently the case. This drives loyalty program engagement.

With such a system, customers wouldn’t be the only winners. With a universal loyalty currency that can be used across a wide range of companies, the merchant would have access to hitherto unknown data-points. If they were willing to share their customer data with others, a more detailed customer profile would emerge with information on the customer outside their store.

In practice, Currency Alliance never permits one merchant to access Member transactions with any other merchants. Instead we process all these transactions across the entire network to enrich the customer profile. Then provide access to segmentation and predictive analytics data about consumers – that can be accessed by those partners who are sharing on the platform.

Improve the value of loyalty programs by collaborating

It is not an easy task to design an effective customer loyalty program in today’s hyper-competitive environment. The customer not only has many choices of merchants, but also to choose between buying online or in a brick and mortar retail establishment.

To reach an attractive ROI, each brand needs to collaborate with the consumer. By collaborating, we can create better outcomes for everyone involved and diminish the marketing noise that distracts us all. It might at first seem counter-intuitive, but if merchants collaborate with each other too – in terms of sharing their data, they can improve the value of loyalty programs by truly putting the customer first.

At Currency Alliance, we have developed a universal loyalty currency called comcoin. We believe it has the potential to transform the level of participation in loyalty programs. We’re also challenging the notion that merchants should protect their customer data at all costs. We believe that the most important thing is putting the customer at the center of your thinking and offering them as much value as possible. One way to do this is to offer a loyalty currency with better redemption value. Another way is through personalized targeting. And the more data you have on customers, the easier it is to target effectively.

If you would like to talk further, have any comments, or would like information about our universal loyalty currency, comcoin, please get in touch with us.