When Jet Airways failed, around April last year, it was the demise of one of the marquee Indian businesses. Their gradual decline sent a lot of their stakeholders and customers in a tizzy. There was also a small section of people who felt a great deal of anxiety during this turbulence — Jet Privilege account holders with hundreds of thousands of miles in their loyalty accounts.
Since its inception, Jet Privilege garnered over 10 million customers as part of their loyalty program and allowed them to burn their JPmiles with hotels, other airlines and fuel. The loyalty program in itself was its own separate entity and simultaneously also acted as the primary tool of marketing for Jet Airways. Today, when Jet Airways is insolvent and not in operation, their loyalty program was bought over by Etihad and continues to operate in a new avatar called InterMiles.
There is a lesson here for a lot of consumer facing companies:
Realign Your Marketing Strategies
A need to reimagine customer acquisition and engagement strategy is vital. In the current environment with more and more intent and value driven shoppers, traditional approaches of above the line marketing campaigns would be a gimmick of the past. Businesses need to realign their marketing strategies and learn to derive insights from their most prized possession — their customer. Overall, they need to reconsider their customer base, the experiences they offer and the kind of rewards that can be availed.
Empower Evolved Customer Experiences
Today, the customer base isn’t just a list which teams can use to offer discounts and rewards, but the ultimate focus group engaged with their business. Their insights could be utilised for planning future product launches, re-opening strategies and understanding evolving customer preferences. Companies in return can find out what their customers want, identify pain points and tailor their offerings accordingly. This leads to an evolution of customer experiences which caters to the surrounding vagaries and is accommodative of comfort and connection.
Be Responsive To Needs & Demands
It would be unreasonable to expect human behaviour to snap out of the current reality and return to its pre-crisis mindset. Company strategies should also be responsive to those needs and demands of the hour and try future-proofing their practices. This involves clearly defining the experiential and transactional benefits they can provide their consumers. A prime example has been Sephora’s Beauty Rewards program. In order to accommodate a ‘new normal’, Sephora has allowed their customers to redeem accumulated points in new ways and expanded their gift offerings along with other member exclusive offerings.
Invest In An Omnichannel Approach
Technology in the retail sector was already the new normal some 10 years ago and there are a huge number of businesses who are too late to the party. Omnichannel loyalty programs like Future Retail.Tech are a much-needed upgrade. There are certain retail players who are in a great position of advantage to leverage the drastic change in customer behavior this pandemic is bound to bring about — retailers with a strong online presence that provide an integrated shopping experience and marketplaces, who are able to funnel almost every retail decision customers are making these days.
Brands who will allow their customers to carry forward their rewards when they start visiting their stores again are going to emerge as winners and this is something which can only be enabled using innovative retail technology.