How digital is accelerating loyalty program development in China

By April 29, 2014
Loyalty programs in China

The number of retailers proposing loyalty programs has grown tremendously in 2013 in China and digital penetration will accelerate this trend. According to a new study by Nielsen – nearly two-thirds of Chinese respondents said that enhanced customer service was the most valuable loyalty program benefit, while discounted or free products mattered most among global loyalty program participants around the world. Discount or free products and special shopping hours were important to 62 percent and 51 percent of Chinese respondents, respectively.

So the brands develop "Customer loyalty" to attract the right customer, to get them to buy, more frequently or/and in higher quantities and so they might bring  even more customers. As the products' variety and benefits are still quite similar in China, Loyalty programms appear as a differenciation way to attract customers offering bigger discounts, free samples or VIP exclusivities. 
However, like the CMOs facing the marketing channels endlessness, CRM managers are dealing whith the raise of the multi-channel and so the extreme complexity to increase customer engagement ? So how digital can help to create an hollistic brand experience in China? 
Acording to me, the biggest key points are: 
1- Customer single view database: 
Despite 2 years ago in China, CRM were mainly excel sheets, the 6th customer and loyalty submit held by Neo-edge two weeks ago in Shanghai highlights how brands  are moving fast to integrate CRM tool and design cross-channel customer relation's strategy. Thanks to the digital, CRM's strategy are currently aiming to aggregate a consistent representation of the data known by the retailers, airlines, travel companies to create a unified view that will allow analysis and the best recommendations to increase the transformation rate. No more mass emailing !
For example, Super 8 (Hotels Nation's franchise) already propose a single membership programm working online, offline or on Super 8's Wechat account.
2- Use the digital to enhance customer's experience:
Chinese expectations as the reputation to be higher than anywhere esle, The marketers are now technology builders, who have to develop new channels (weibo, Wechat, m-commerce,apps...), create new tracking systems (analytics) and aggregate these into their customers’ experiences. 
Digital tools are building bridges to engage customer in the brands' eco system and the membership program is the link between those bridges.

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